Madam Speaker, maybe that member should have warned his Prime Minister about interfering in a criminal prosecution when he sustained a campaign against the former attorney general to try to get her to interfere in a criminal proceeding. Maybe he should have put a little attention to that.
Let me get back to what happened just before the charges were laid against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.
The chief of the defence staff had a meeting and a nice dinner with the Prime Minister's top staff, Katie Telford and Gerald Butts. There they were having a nice dinner, chatting about the criminal charges and planning.
We all know from the SNC-Lavalin scandal that PMO chit-chat about criminal prosecutions is pretty well par for the course in the Liberal PMO. Oddly, the chief of the defence staff seemed to have no notes about the advanced sneak peek he was giving Katie and Gerry. Maybe the Prime Minister's Office kept notes.
Mark Norman is trying to get those notes. He had to subpoena records in the possession of the Prime Minister, Katie Telford, Gerald Butts, Michael Wernick and former PMO issues management director Zita Astravas. It remains to be seen whether he gets them. Sadly, Mark Norman is being forced to fight to get access to his own records. Now, more than two years after being suspended from the Canadian Armed Forces, Vice-Admiral Norman is struggling to get the material he needs to mount his own defence.
Here is the irony of ironies. Gerald Butts, who has resigned from the Prime Minister's Office in the midst of the SNC-Lavalin affair, seems to have full access to all of his records. We have just seen that with emails, texts and very meticulous notes he took, which seem to have been written verbatim and make it appear he may have taped the conversations. He has access to all of it. He is not even working for the PMO anymore, but he has full access to all of it, none of it redacted. Is that not interesting? Gerry Butts, the Prime Minister's best friend, has complete access to his papers for his testimony to the justice committee. However, what about Vice-Admiral Mark Norman? No, there is nothing there. When he did get a 60-page document it was all redacted.
We know why Gerry Butts went to testify. Another interesting fact is that all of these individuals at the PMO have lawyered up with different law firms. In fact, the Prime Minister's communications director defended all of this by invoking a reference to Treasury Board rules. By the way, all of these lawyers are paid for by the taxpayers.
Treasury Board rules do allow for public servants to have access to outside legal advice in respect of work-related issues. However, who has been denied support under the same Treasury Board rules? Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. All of this boggles the mind. Who gets access to documents? PMO buddies and staff who quit in disgrace. Who does not get access to documents? Well-respected veterans from our military, who have served the country with distinction and are being used as scapegoats by the Prime Minister and his office. It is shameful to watch
Canada is a democracy. A corner of our democracy is the rule of law, yet the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Office treat criminal prosecutions like a play thing. In one case, the Prime Minister is sandbagging, charging and denying a fair trial to an honourable man all because of political convenience and because he thinks he might have put himself in the way of the interests of a well-connected Liberal-friendly company.
In the other case, we have the Prime Minister sneaking a new get-out-of-jail provision into an omnibus budget bill, then directing the organized badgering, bothering and harassing of the former attorney general and finally firing her. He has put in place someone, yet it all remains to been seen, to do his dirty work for him. We have yet to see what is going to happen and what the current Attorney General is going to do with this DPA for SNC-Lavalin. If it does get a DPA, it is clear that the former attorney general was fired so the current Attorney General would do exactly what the Prime Minister asked for. That is unconscionable. That is what corruption is.
This is all horrible to watch. It is clear that there was a plan to move heaven and earth to protect the interests of well-connected, Liberal-friendly companies. What sort of country do we live in where a powerful Prime Minister, backed up by a powerful backroom of political operatives, can just decide to mobilize the power of the state, the police, the prosecutor, name it, to help friends and punish enemies? That is not Canada. The Conservatives will have none of it.