The Globe and Mail April 17, 2019
Lawyers for Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and the federal government argued Wednesday over the words of Canada’s top bureaucrat during the SNC-Lavalin affair as the suspended military officer’s team pressed for access to secret government emails and memos.
At issue is whether Michael Wernick, the outgoing clerk of the Privy Council, waived solicitor-client privilege on some of those documents – and thus opened the door to Norman’s lawyers seeing them – when he testified before a Commons’ committee in February.
During an appearance to address allegations of political interference in a criminal prosecution against SNC-Lavalin, Wernick at one point told the justice committee he decided to have the courts decide whether to release thousands of cabinet documents requested by Norman’s lawyers.
Previous to that decision in October 2018, it was believed the government would invoke a special legal provision and refuse any court requests for the documents, which Norman’s team say they need to prove his innocence.