After VAdm. Mark Norman was denied financial assistance with his legal bills by the government earlier this year, many Canadians have banded together to raise funds for the former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS).
Norman was removed from his position as VCDS last year after only serving for a handful of months in the role. The decision came from CDS Gen. Jonathan Vance after the RCMP alleged that Norman had tipped off Davie Shipbuilding that the federal government was considering delaying a naval project that involved the firm converting a commercial ship into a naval supply vessel, according to reports.
Earlier this year, Norman was denied by the federal government his request for financial assistance because of their belief that he is guilty of disclosing confidential information.
After hearing about the government’s denial to assist Norman, many Canadians have taken up the mantle to raise funds for the Vice Admiral, including former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member Lee Hammond.
“I guess my natural instinct was that I didn’t feel that was fair. He is facing a potential legal fight against the Government of Canada which has got unlimited resources,” said the former artillery colonel.
Col. (ret’d) Hammond was a colleague of Norman, and the two had a professional relationship based on respect. Hammond first met the former VCDS briefly when Hammond was a serving as a major.
However, he would come to know him better professionally when the two worked together at the National Defence Headquarters. Hammond served as the Director of Strategic Readiness with the Strategic Joint Staff while Norman was the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.
“I got to watch him do his job, and I always thought he was a decent fellow that you could approach and talk to. He didn’t put on airs or anything like that,” recalled Hammond.
After speaking with some of his friends, Hammond decided to begin a GoFundMe campaign to assist VAdm. Norman. Hammond also reached out to Norman and inform him about the campaign.
Because Norman is still a serving member of the CAF, Hammond’s campaign must comply with certain rules. Norman is explicitly prohibited from accepting any form of financial compensation (gifts, loans or similar) from anyone having “(financial) dealings with the government.” This means that he cannot accept support from individuals who are employees of companies with contracts or that might be seeking contracts with the government. Additionally, those who are part of organizations that receive grants or donations from the government should also check twice before donating to the campaign.
Despite these restrictions, in less than one month, the campaign has gathered more than its initial goal of $50,000.
“I’d like to publicly thank all the people that have donated and certainly encourage people to look into this case. At the end of the day for me what this case is about is to give VAdm. Norman a fair chance to defend himself. It’s not a question of me claiming to know things I don’t know, I’m outside the military I don’t know any of the inside information, but I do feel like he’s an honourable man who at least deserves the chance to defend himself on a level playing field,” said Hammond.
All funds raised from Hammond’s campaign will directly be withdrawn from Norman and his legal team.
To donate to the Admiral Mark Norman Legal Defence GoFundMe campaign click here.