OTTAWA – Treasury Board President Scott Brison, one of the most experienced representatives of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, is leaving politics – but a Vice Admiral Mark Norman-focused court case will not fail to place him. under the spotlight.
Brison said that Norman's trial, which was due to open in August, had no bearing on his decision to leave politics. "If this problem had never happened, I would make the same decision as now," he told Canadian Press.
However, Norman's defense lawyers are going through a difficult test. They focused on Brison's role in stopping a $ 700 million procurement of supply vessels. Norman faces a criminal charge of breach of trust for allegedly disclosing cabinet secrets regarding the project. The list of Crown witnesses, disclosed in court last month, includes Brison.
The evidence presented to the court shows that Brison urged his colleagues to suspend the project with Davie Shipbuilding until further studies are done. At a crucial meeting on November 19, 2015, at the cabinet committee, Brison presented a letter from Davie's rival, Irving Shipbuilding, inviting the government to consider his own proposal. The news of the meeting immediately leaked, and Brison expressed dissatisfaction with his interview with the RCMP, some of whose parts were filed in court.
Scott Brison will be speaking during Question Period in the House of Commons on October 16, 2018.
Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press
Brison has since declared that he was simply trying to exercise due diligence in a sole-source project signed in the last days of Harper's Conservative government, and strongly denied the lawyers' allegations. from Norman that he was unduly influenced by Irving.
Brison's departure marks the end of a 22-year career on Parliament Hill, earning him the nickname of a Progressive Conservative star, a mediocre Liberal, a two-party leadership contender and Prime Minister of Canada openly gay.
The Nova Scotia MP announced Thursday that he was resigning from the firm and that he would not be running again in 2019. In a statement, he cited three reasons why he resigned: leaving while he was there. was at the peak of his career, looking for new opportunities while he still can, and spending more time with his husband and two twin four-year-old daughters.
"I am proud of what I have helped to accomplish," he said in a statement. "I'm going upstairs, proud of my prime minister and our government."
MP Scott Brison with Federal Progressive Conservative Leader Joe Clark in August 2000.
Scott Dunlop / Postmedia
Since the day Brison was first elected in 1997, he has been seen as a young political star and a potential party leader.
He was elected to the increasingly cautious Progressive Conservative caucus, which was rapidly losing support on its right flank. At age 31, Brison was seen as the possible future of the PCs. But in the leadership race, he supported Joe Clark and even temporarily relinquished his seat in 2000 to allow Clark to sit in the House of Commons.
When Clark resigned two years later, Brison was engaged in the race to replace him, but was beaten by his colleague, MP for the Atlantic, Peter MacKay. A few months later, MacKay negotiated the PCs' merger with the Canadian Alliance, creating the Conservative party of today.
In the final weeks of the United-Right negotiation, Brison was already publicly expressing his skepticism. The year before, he had become homosexual and was afraid to give too much power to the social conservatives of the Canadian Alliance.
The merger was formalized on December 8, 2003. Two days later, Brison announced that he was moving to the Liberal government under Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Candidate Scott Brison, left, lends his support to Jim Prentice after being defeated in the second round at the federal PC leadership convention in Toronto on May 31, 2003.
National Post file
As a spokesman for the opposition in the field of finance, Brison had harassed Martin relentlessly. A year earlier, he had attacked Martin as "shy" and "risk-averse." But Brison retained his seat in the 2004 election, which resulted in a Liberal minority government, and Martin appointed him to cabinet as Minister of Public Works.
Brison has been the overtly gay Prime Minister of Canada's history, a milestone for a country at the heart of a landmark debate about gay rights. One year later, same-sex marriage was legalized; Brison married his partner Maxime St-Pierre in 2007.
"The House of Commons has not only shaped my career, the decisions made in this room have shaped my life," Brison said in his statement Thursday. "Including decisions that have given me the opportunity to marry the person I love and raise a family while being open and honest about who I am as than anyone. "
The Liberals lost the election in January 2006, perhaps in part because of the mid-campaign revelation that the RCMP was investigating a possible leak of Cabinet information on the taxation of income trusts. . Brison was soon immersed in the scandal after learning that he had sent an email to a friend of CIBC, who appeared to be an informant of the income trust decision.
Progressive Conservative MP Scott Brison accompanied Liberal Leader Paul Martin at a news conference shortly after Brison announced he would change party on December 10, 2003.
Bruno Schlumberger / Postmedia
Brison defended himself by saying that he was only discussing public rumors. He has never been charged with any offense. However, Norman's defense team did not escape the irony of this, noting in particular that the income trust scandal was proof that leaks in Ottawa were commonplace – and rarely subject to criminal prosecution.
Martin resigned after the election and for the second time, Brison has embarked on a leadership race. But he finished at the back of the pack and spent the next decade as a leading critic on the opposition benches.
The 2015 election, which saw the Liberals regain power, also saw Brison return to the minister's post. But unlike in the Martin era, Brison was a quiet minister of the Trudeau government. Aside from the Norman trial, he focused on the government's highly criticized reforms to the access to information regime.
On Thursday, Trudeau thanked Brison for his "extraordinary service", calling someone who "dedicated himself every day to his country, his community and building a better future for all" .
When asked if the Norman lawsuit had played a role in the resignation, Trudeau said he "had accepted Scott Brison's decision because of his desire to spend more time with his family. It's certainly something that I can understand myself as a father of young children. "
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