OTTAWA — Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet will give a Quebec national assembly medal to the vice-admiral who is being investigated by the RCMP on suspicion of having leaked cabinet secrets to the Davie shipyard.
Mark Norman was head of the navy when the former Conservative government gave the Quebec City-area facility an interim supply-ship project without competition in the summer of 2015.
The move came after the navy was forced to retire its only two resupply ships early, leaving a gap until new permanent replacements could be built around 2021.
Norman had been a proponent for the project.
In January 2017, Norman, who had been promoted in August 2016 to vice chief of defence staff, the military's second-highest position, was suddenly relieved of duty without explanation.
Court documents later showed the RCMP was investigating him on suspicion of having leaked cabinet secrets to Davie in November 2015.
The Mounties alleged Norman was upset that the new Trudeau government was reconsidering the interim supply ship contract, and that he worked with Davie to pressure the Liberals into staying the course.
Norman remains suspended but has not been charged with any crime. The allegations in the documents have not been tested in court, and Norman's lawyer has denied her client did anything wrong.
The Liberal government ultimately decided to proceed with the ship, the MV Asterix.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Ouellet said she considers Norman a whistleblower and "a friend of Quebec."
"He seems to be the target of reprisals because he stood tall," she said.
"We can see he was right because the Asterix is the only ship that has been delivered by a naval shipyard in Canada. It saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and if other other contracts were awarded to Davie, they would be saving billions."
Ouellet, who is also an Independent member of the Quebec legislature after parting ways with the Parti Quebecois, is expected to give Norman the medal at a private ceremony in Ottawa in the coming weeks.