Don Martin: The fall guy could be the general who suspended Mark Norman
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 5:52PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 6:13PM EDT
The vindication of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman comes with a potential casualty. Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance comes out of this mess set up to be a fall guy.
It was Vance, acting on the faintest shadow of suspicion, who quickly threw Norman under the proverbial LAV.
It was Vance who publicly declared that he had lost confidence in Norman's performance, suspending his supposed friend and second in command without a hearing.
It was Vance who insisted to media he was furious at his officers for failing to unearth code-named documents needed by Norman's defence, only to admit under oath that he hadn't done much to expedite the search.
And it was Vance who reported to his political masters as the Norman controversy raged, yet neglected to take notes of any conversations, including one with the Prime Minister.
Add it up and Vance seemed too eager to serve as Norman's firing squad to appease a PMO infuriated over a leak which would normally be fairly routine.
But beyond that questionable conduct, Vance is just not an aggressive advocate for his own military.
When it comes to protesting the endangered F-35 jet fighter program, the contrived capability gap in the air force, the shipbuilding procurement mess or a military overlooked for budget spending boosts, we hear only the sounds of silence.
But I digress.
The real cringe-worthy Vance dance came with the prosecutorial termination for Norman on a breach of trust charge which had the vice-admiral demanding his job back. The CDS instantly opened his arms to Norman with an exuberance only matched by the enthusiasm he showed in suspending his second in command two years ago.
With the fourth anniversary of his general obedience as Canada’s top soldier approaching, this CDS has served long enough as parrot to the government line to be in line for a tropical diplomatic post.
May Jonathan Vance be replaced by a general who will publicly demand a fix instead of jet fighter Band-aids, who gets shipbuilding back on course and who strongly defends the forces against a government which is not really with them in spirit or spending.
Gee, come to think of it, may his replacement be someone like Mark Norman.
That's the Last Word.