House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was respect.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Milton (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, I assure members that Vice-Admiral Norman, with his gigantic legal bill, which is now going to be paid by the taxpayers of Canada, does not thank the government for the shoddy work it conducted throughout this entire process, which caused so much pain and so much cost, either because it maliciously wanted to ensure that these documents did not come forward or because it was simply inept. Either of those two reasons means that there should be an inquiry in that department by this minister by his own hand.

I will ask the minister again. Will he be conducting a real inquiry, one that is written on paper, not an oral version, so that Canadians can get to the bottom of exactly what happened in this case?

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, what is interesting is that there is actually someone within the justice department who gets this, because justice department counsel Robert MacKinnon told the court in those hearings that it does not matter where the government-related business is being handled. Whether it is in personal emails or personal data, they are covered by the subpoena, and he would be following up to make sure that actually happened.

Does the minister agree with that comment made by his own lawyer, and should this be followed up on?

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, the government's documents collection was atrocious. It was to the point that the minister should know that the chief of the defence staff, although he learned in December that code names were used to avoid the production of documents, did not check in on it until the third week of January. Nobody in that four-week period of time thought to go back and actually do a further search. I think that is something else that needs to be investigated.

As well, as we tuned into hearings between January 29 and February 1, even more information came out, most importantly the fact that one of the lawyers who would be working for this minister, a lawyer in bed with the Department of National Defence, was alleged to have given advice to a former assistant to the Minister of National Defence with respect to what she needed to disclose in her search. She said she had two phones, a government-issued Blackberry and a personal iPhone. However, she took the advice of the Department of National Defence and did not search her personal emails and did not know whether her Blackberry messages were included in the search.

There was not a sufficient search. It was advised by a lawyer from the Department of Justice. Does the minister think that is enough to warrant an inquiry?

May 14th, 2019

To recap, Mr. Chair, we have now heard that the Crown prosecutor was talking to legal counsel in the Privy Council Office. We have heard that they were asking for updates on who has been identified as potential witnesses. We now know that ATIPs were being deliberately avoided.

Now we move on to another one. Also heard in testimony during that hearing in December was the fact that federal government lawyers, who would be these ministers' lawyers, inappropriately intervened in the defence's access to witnesses and in giving witnesses bad information.

Does the minister think that this is enough of a problem to warrant an investigation?

May 14th, 2019

The issue, Mr. Chair, is not whether the judge was to make the decision. We all know that at the end of the day she did not, because of the amount of delay that the current government allowed for.

What we do know as well from these trial dates and these hearings is that there were even problems with how they gamed the system in terms of the kinds of words that would trigger disclosure of documents.

It was revealed in the trial that access-to-information requests in 2017 returned no results. In the entire Mark Norman case, when meetings were going on day after day and information and surveillance was going on, there were no results in all of the Department of National Defence, and guess why. It was because a witness came forward and asked for protection from his own government so that his name would not be disclosed after he told Canadians that code names were used in order to ensure that there would be no response in the documents.

Why does the minister not think that this is something that needs to be looked into further?

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, following up on the excellent questions of my learned colleague, the member forDurham, I wanted to get a bit further into this oral report that the minister received from his department that has allowed him to come to the conclusion that there is nothing to see here and everything went fine.

I would like to take the minister through some specific things that happened in the hearings that have transpired since November 23 of last year. Predominantly, this is about the fact that the documents were being sought so the defence could put together an abuse-of-process motion to have the charge dismissed because, the defence said, there was political interference and obstruction of the subpoena requests for documents.

With respect to the hearing, between December 12 and December 18, it was said that emails between a Crown prosecutor and legal counsel in the Privy Council Office, which is the government department that supports the Prime Minister, showed the Privy Council Office lawyer asking for updates on who had been identified as potential witnesses, what was discussed in judicial pretrial meetings and what the defence planned to argue in pretrial motions. Does this concern the minister with respect to administration of justice in his department?

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, on October 12, defence counsel asked for a number of documents to be produced. They received no documents until February 22. During testimony in December 2018, it was brought to the attention that ATIP information was in fact misapplied, meaning that they were not searching for the terms under which the documents were being filed.

Second, a person who was staff to the then Minister of National Defence did not check her personal emails or her secondary personal phone or her BlackBerry device for the documents that were being sought.

Does the minister still believe that the departments did a good job in seeking these documents?

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, I will point out again that the minister is wrong in this case. In fact, it was the court that indicated that in the latter case, November 23, it was the Crown that decided that it would not release the documents attached to the application of October 12, and it was for no reason. In fact, the judge said that it was an open court.

I wonder if the minister could comment on why it was decided that there would be an attempt to suppress the documents attached to a duly placed motion in the court.

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, is the minister aware that on two occasions media, had to go to court in order to lift bans that were asked for and placed on the court with respect to documents, first on April 21, 2017, and second on November 23, 2018?

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, I have to go back to what the former defence attorney for Vice-Admiral Norman indicated:

No person in this country should ever walk into a courtroom and feel like they are fighting their elected government or any sort of political factors at all.

She also said:

It took months and months and months. It took six months to get documents, and as we sit here today and as we walked out of that courtroom, we still did not have all of them....

She added:

The facts are that we were required to bring an application in court that has dragged on for six months to get documents.

How can the minister indicate that he is satisfied with the work of the department in this matter?