Andrew Leslie to be witness for Mark Norman

Andrew Leslie announced Wednesday he will not run again as a Liberal

May 5, 2019, 2:10 pm

Retired General Andrew Leslie, who has served as Liberal Whip and parliamentary secretary in the current Liberal government, announced Wednesday he will not run again and has agreed to testify for Mark Norman against the government.

Liberal MP and former army commander Andrew Leslie has offered to be a witness for Vice Admiral Mark Norman at his upcoming trial on one charge of breach of trust this summer.

Leslie is the grandson of Moosomin's General Andrew McNaughton, and many people in the area would have met Leslie when he visited Moosomin before being elected Liberal MP for Orleans. McNaughton came to the area to visit the high school named after his grandfather, the Anglican church with memorials to his family, and the store that had been run by his family, and spoke at a dinner at the Armoury Hall.

Leslie was the head of the Canadian mission to Afghanistan and was later head of the Canadian Army from 2006 to 2010.

He was recruited as a star candidate for the Liberals in the 2015 election, and was Liberal Whip in the House of Commons, as well as Parliamentary Secretary for the ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Now he has said he will not run again, and is prepared to testify against the government in the trial of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

Norman’s trial is expected to start in August but the officer’s legal team members are back in court later this week as they continue to try to get government records they believe could help in the vice admiral’s defence.

Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance suspended Norman from his job in January 2017 after the RCMP alleged he tipped off Davie Shipbuilding that the Liberal government was considering delaying a key project.

That project involved the Quebec firm converting a commercial ship into a much-needed naval supply vessel.

Details about the government’s decision was also leaked to journalists, and the resulting embarrassment, along with financial penalties that would have been imposed, forced the Liberal government to back down on its plans.

But the government brought in the RCMP to hunt down the source of the alleged leak. Norman, once the second highest ranking officer in the Canadian military, was charged last year with one count of breach of trust.

Norman had denied any wrongdoing.

Leslie represents the riding in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans where Norman resides and the two men have worked together while in the Canadian Forces.

Sources told CTV News, which broke the original story on Friday, that Leslie informed the Prime Minister’s Office more than a year ago that he would testify on behalf of Norman.

Norman’s lawyers are expected to bring forward an abuse-of-process motion, likely to be argued sometime in May.

That motion is expected to level allegations of political interference and obstruction of subpoena requests for documents as reasons for the case to be dismissed before it gets to trial.

In their application to have the censorship removed, Norman’s lawyers say they particularly need access to any documents that show the government’s analysis on issues of cabinet confidences, as such confidences form the basis of the criminal leak case against Norman.

“Uniquely, this legal analysis is therefore the lynchpin of the Crown’s case and undermining it is central to the Applicant’s ability to demonstrate his innocence,” Norman’s lawyers noted in an application to the court in mid-April. They also argue they need access to documents that could show “improper political or strategic considerations” in how the government made decisions on protecting cabinet information relevant to the case.