LILLEY: Trudeau’s dark cast of characters at the centre of scandal

Perhaps Jody Wilson-Raybould should be meeting up with Mark Norman to compare notes.

The Vice-Admiral and the former attorney general likely have much in common in how they have been treated by Team Trudeau.

In separate interviews with Postmedia over the last few days, the pair have been telling their respective stories.

Wilson-Raybould tells Toronto Sun columnist Warren Kinsella that she is “sad and “disappointed,” that she was, “removed from caucus through a questionable process.”

Speaking with Ottawa Citizen reporter David Pugliese, Norman described how he felt as he was watching Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announce on TV, months before charges, that the whole affair was going to court.

“I was thinking, ‘I’m screwed,’” Norman told Pugliese.

He was screwed, he had the full weight of the Trudeau government up against him, just like Wilson-Raybould did in her fight.

The two situations may seem like night and day, Wilson-Raybould was fighting to stop the government from letting off a well connected company on bribery and corruption charges while Norman was charged with leak a cabinet secret.

What they have in common is the attempt by Team Trudeau to interfere in the supposedly independent justice system.

They also share the same cast of characters.

Katie Telford, Michael Wernick, Scott Brison and of course Trudeau himself.

Telford is Trudeau’s chief of staff who famously said, “We don’t want to debate legalities any more.”

That is what Telford told Wilson-Raybould’s chief of staff after hearing another explanation on why SNC-Lavalin would not be getting the sweetheart deal to avoid prosecution.

Translation: forget what the law says, do what the PM wants.

Telford was also there when Norman was suspended prior to trial, getting a special briefing for political staffers including the now departed Gerry Butts.

Given how Norman describes the situation it is likely Telford, a civilian and political staffer, knew more about the allegation against Canada’s second highest ranking military officer than Norman himself did.

The whole Norman affair started after then-Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick effectively kickstarted the investigation.

After Trudeau became concerned about the leak regarding the shipbuilding contract, Wernick wrote a 60-page memo for Trudeau detailing the situation and why he thought Norman was to blame.

When the RCMP was asked to investigate the request came from Wernick.

Wernick was also one of the people pressuring Wilson-Raybould on SNC-Lavalin.

He even asked her to personally take over the investigation from the independent prosecutor as a way to get the result that Trudeau wanted.

“He is gonna find way to get it done one way or another,” Wernick told Wilson-Raybould referring to the determined mood of the PM to get SNC the deal.

In one case Wernick was pushing to get someone charged, someone that had angered the PM while in the other case he pushing to help a firm the PM liked avoid prosecution.

Is that what we want from the top levels of government in Canada?

Not if we are a country built on the rule of law where political calculations aren’t supposed to enter into the equation.

Scott Brison has a starring role in both sagas for being the one to try and change the shipbuilding contract to a firm the Liberals favoured and being the person Trudeau blamed for moving Wilson-Raybould out of her position as AG.

Finally we have a new cast member, or perhaps a better way to put it is we have a promotion from supporting cast member to a starring role.

Ben Chin, a long time political operative in Ontario, BC and federal politics has been brought in to clean up the mess created by these two stories.

Chin is moving over from the finance minister’s office to be a senior advisor to Trudeau.

What is remarkable is that Trudeau doesn’t see the problem here.

Chin was one of the people pressuring Wilson-Raybould hard to give SNC a deal, now he is brought in to fix things as the government heads towards an uncertain election.

It shows they haven’t learned a thing from either saga over the past few months.