Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and his boss, Gen. Jonathan Vance, appeared together at a navy ceremony in Halifax Wednesday — the first time they’ve been seen together in public since the end of Norman’s breach-of-trust case.
Vance, the chief of the defence staff, publicly welcomed his former deputy commander back into the military fold at the change of command ceremony for the Atlantic fleet Wednesday afternoon.
“Great to have you here mate,” Vance said to Norman, who was in full uniform. “The family’s all together again. It feels good.”
Neither one of them spoke to journalists afterwards.
A single charge of breach of trust against Norman, who was accused of leaking cabinet secrets in relation to a shipbuilding deal, was stayed by the prosecution last month. Prosecutors said there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.
Norman was suspended from his job as vice chief of the defence staff after the RCMP raided his home in January 2017, but was not formally relieved of his duties until 18 months later.
Once the case was dropped, Norman said he wanted to return to duty. While he has been reinstated, he has yet to be given his old job back or transferred to another post.
The Senate defence committee intends to hold hearings into the failed prosecution and plans to call Vance and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan as early as next week.
It is still unclear at the moment whether Norman will appear before the committe to explain the circumstances of his case.
Even if he does, his remarks could very well be tempered because, as a serving officer, he is not allowed to criticize his superiors or government policy.
The Senate also wants to call former Liberal and Conservative cabinet ministers whose decisions on a $668 million deal to lease a supply ship to the navy were at the heart of the criminal case case against Norman.
The ceremony Wednesday took place at the Halifax dockyard and reference to Norman, a former commander of the navy, was greeted with warm applause.
The new commander of the Royal Canadian Navy is Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, who once served as commander of the Pacific fleet and as deputy head of the navy.
He has praised the sailors and ships’ companies as the navy prepares to receive new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships — and eventually (in the 2020s) new frigates.
“They are ready to help, lead and fight,” McDonald said in a statement. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue supporting and enabling them and their successes by building on the enormous momentum created by my predecessor.”
McDonald replaces Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, who is retiring after over three decades in uniform.