Monday, January 30, 2017

Update on Admiral Norman's case

In an article published in the National Post, "Questions remain about top military officer's removal as replacement 'double-hats' Navy and Defence jobs" the media laments the fact that Canadians are 'still in the dark about [Vice-Admiral Mark] Norman removal [as the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.]. At present, the Canadian Forces won't say whether Norman is coming back to the VCDS job and who long his replacement, the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy will be acting and in the process handle the duties of each position.
"The level of secrecy around Norman's departure also does not sit well with some of his supporters, who point out the lack of information has allowed theories about why he was removed to spiral out of control."
In a related article also published in the Canadian parliamentary precinct weekly, Hill Times, Michel Drapeau and his associate Joshua Juneau posit that should Vice Admiral Norman’s removal be permanent, a replacement VCDS will need to be found soon. They deplore the fact, however, that in Canada, General rank and Flag officers are all appointed on the sole and unique selection and nomination of the Chief of Defence Staff [CDS].  It is also customary for the CDS to nominate for the approval to the Minister of National Defence a single nominee for the promotion and/or appointment or re-appointment of a General or Flag officer. This leaves the Minister with a 'fait accompli' and it provides no parliamentary control or oversight. 

The nomination and appointment process is therefore neither open nor transparent.  

This sort of arbitrary appointment process stands in stark contrast with the procedure used in the USA where Congress has had a long-standing interest in the military officer corps and has the power to confirm or deny the nomination of an individual to fill a General or Flag officer position.  It also runs counter to a host of recent changes in Canada in regards to the selection procedure for appointments of such office holders as Senators, Judges and some 1,500 Government-in- Council appointments.  

The authors conclude that the time has come for Parliament to oversee the promotion, appointment and re-appoinment of Generals and Flag officers, commencing with the next VCDS should that come in the weeks ahead. 

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