Roy Green: Chaos at the top of Canada’s military

Canadian military’s second in command abruptly quits
After serving in the Canadian Armed Forces for 38 years, Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk is quitting as the vice-chief of the defence staff.

The fallout continued this week for the senior-most members of Canada’s military command. Yet it appears the architects of the public assault on soon-to-be-retired Vice-Admiral Mark Norman are successfully dodging a full accounting of their spurious behaviour.

Most Canadians are no doubt relieved Vice-Admiral Norman witnessed a collapse of the unwarranted criminal charge against him. The Trudeau government is in full and public retreat after we learned Norman’s significant legal fees would be covered by Ottawa.

READ MORE: Vice-chief of defence staff resigns, citing plan Mark Norman was to replace him

That the vice-admiral was also able to reach an apparently satisfactory financial settlement to make up for the personal and professional horrors visited upon him no doubt also sits well with most who hold Canada’s armed forces in high respect.

Will we ever learn the details? “Confidential” is the word from the Department of National Defence.

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The CAF command chaos this week saw Lt. Gen. Paul Wynnyk, who had been named to replace Norman by Chief of Staff Gen. Jon Vance, send Vance a pointed letter of resignation (leaked to Global News), upon Wynnyk learning Vance had intended to give Norman his old job back. However, with the admiral’s pending departure from the military, Vance requested Wynnyk stay on after all.

No thank you.

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Is it a leap to consider the possibility of PMO direct involvement in this awful theatre?

After all, the prime minister just weeks earlier appears to have engineered the silencing of his former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, as the Liberal majority on the parliamentary justice committee repeatedly voted down Wilson-Raybould’s declared desire to publicly share actions by Justin Trudeau she found unacceptably disturbing as federal prosecutors were deciding to criminally charge Quebec firm SNC-Lavalin.

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Trudeau’s stumbles in this case were blatant and repeated, beginning with his insistence that original reports by the Globe and Mail about PMO attempts to get Wilson-Raybould to stop prosecutors from laying charges against the Quebec business giant were “false.” He wouldn’t, though, answer whether his office had attempted to “influence” prosecutors.

READ MORE: Trudeau says report his office pressed former justice minister to drop SNC-Lavalin prosecution ‘false’ (February 2019)

The prime minister survived, though the parliamentary body count climbed.

Ultimately Wilson-Raybould was silenced and sent packing by the Liberals. With her departed cabinet colleague Jane Philpott, whose public concerns about Trudeau mirrored those of the former attorney general.

Self-dispatched were Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, and Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick.

Meanwhile, the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) continues with its investigation of whether in the SNC case the federal government has run afoul of the OECD anti-bribery convention.

READ MORE: Canadian military’s second-in-command defends boss after resignation leaks

As for the fundamental cornerstone of Canadian justice, namely, that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, on two occasions the prime minister of Canada appeared to attempt to influence the Norman case by very publicly opining the vice-admiral would see the inside of a courtroom. This was well before any criminal charge against Norman had been filed.

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There remains unfinished public business in both the SNC-Lavalin and Norman cases.

Wilson-Raybould’s accounting must be heard and Norman’s as well. After all, Norman publicly stated he has “an important story to tell Canadians.”

We’re waiting.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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