Correspondence obtained by CTV News shows Vice-Admiral Mark Norman had considered resigning over attempted political interference in a shipbuilding contract by Irving Shipyards, before he was ultimately removed from his duties.
Norman was the vice chief of the defence staff when Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance temporarily removed him from his duties on Jan. 9. The military has never provided an explanation for Norman’s suspension.
Sources say Irving wrote to multiple cabinet ministers in the newly minted Liberal government in November of 2015, trying to scuttle a multimillion dollar plan to rebuild a desperately needed supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy that had been awarded to competitor Davie Shipyards.
Expressing his frustration, Norman wrote: “This is sole [sic] destroying. I might be prepared to resign over this. I can’t keep playing along much longer.”
Documents related to the procurement plan, known as Project Resolve, were leaked to media and the defence industry. CTV News has learned that the leaks prompted an RCMP probe, which led to Norman’s suspension.
The ongoing probe is being carried out by the Sensitive and International Investigations unit, which deals with politically sensitive cases.