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Canada has often punched above its weight in military matters.
Our contributions to both the First and Second World Wars were out of all proportion to our small population. Canada sent its best troops and the bravery exhibited by these fine souls was crucial to victory. Our troops and the competence our military leaders are rightly celebrated. The sacrifices are commemorated in statues and war museums throughout the country.
The career of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was true to that proud tradition. His competence and hard work caused him to rise through the ranks to positions of great responsibility. He’s a credit to Canada’s proud military tradition.
But he wasn’t treated by the federal government with the respect that should be afforded to such a distinguished career. That treatment is a national disgrace. He was unceremoniously charged with serious criminal offences and sacked for simply carrying out his duties.
He endured two years of personal embarrassment, high stress, litigation and all the uncertainty that comes with such an ordeal.
The truth won out in the end, but only through the work of his highly-skilled legal team and the support of people who have great faith in him.
He has been exonerated, apologized to and compensated, as is only proper.
We will never know the full extent of the skullduggery and political shenanigans that led to the two years he spent disgraced, not knowing if he would face incarceration or court martial. Everything is now settled and well covered up, and before the fall election. How convenient.
We are to never know how much money has been thrown away prosecuting and settling with Norman.
None of our taxpayers’ expenditure on this matter was necessary. The fortune spent on prosecuting and settling is simply money wasted.
If not for the combination of government venality and incompetence, the vice-admiral would still be at his post, doing his job.
None of that incredible waste of time, money and talent can be defended.
Waste such as this seemingly doesn’t matter to the federal government. It’s just more money they will casually take from our wallets. This government has made a habit of this kind of pure waste. The amount of money extracted from taxpayers and simply thrown away is staggering. There has never been a federal government that showed such contempt for the money it taxes from hardworking Canadians.
In the 1950s, Liberal cabinet minister C.D. Howe was pilloried for saying “What’s a million?”
With the current federal government, the attitude is more like “What’s a billion?”
While vast funds have been thrown around on useless prosecutions and highly questionable special interest group giveaways, we have disgraceful medical waiting lists. Elderly people wait in agony for joint replacements or, on occasion, even vital heart or cancer treatments.
We have children with rare diseases denied drugs that would save their lives because the drugs are thought to be too expensive. Rural ambulance services are cut back so far that some of those living too far from a hospital will die before they reach hospital.
And we have veterans from the same proud military tradition as Norman told there’s not enough money to give them decent pensions.
Isn’t it convenient for the federal government to close the books on Norman well before the Oct. 21 election?
Brian Giesbrecht is a retired judge and a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
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