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Opinion

Henein takes a high-profile shot at Trudeau

By Warren Kinsella      

Mark Norman's extraordinary lawyer Marie Henien used last week's press conference to take a shot at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 'Fortunately, Vice-Admiral Norman didn’t fire the females he hired,' she said.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, pictured on May 8, 2019, in Ottawa with his lawyer Marie Henein. The Hill Times file photograph by Andrew Meade
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TORONTO—Ah, The Feminist. There he was again, last week, sleeves rolled up, tie loosened. All moist-eyed sincerity, all sotto voce.  

The Feminist had just jogged down a flight of stairs and paused to take media questions, en deux langues. The questions were about the total and complete collapse of his planned show trial, the one to destroy Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who had had the temerity to disagree with what his laywers alleged was the government’s desire to hand over a fat military contract to a Liberal Party donor.

The Feminist said that the criminal prosecution of the vice-admiral—which he had coincidentally said was coming, well before charges were even laid—was on the up-and-up.  

“The process involved in a public prosecution like this is entirely independent of my office,” he said. “We have confidence done in the work done by the director of public prosecutions.”

Well, that’s good to know, because the director of public prosecutions Canada sure doesn’t have much “confidence” in The Feminist. Back in March, on the very morning The Feminist had refused to apologize for destroying the career and reputation of Jody Wilson-Raybould—on the very morning he refused to apologize when he and his senior staff were caught interfering in another criminal prosecution more than 20 times, over a four-month period in 2018—the public prosecutor did something extraordinary. On Twitter.

Here is what the office tweeted, in apparent direct response to The Feminist’s claim to have been “entirely independent” of a public prosecution of another Liberal Party donor. Here is what the prosector’s office said to the world, capturing the attention of the OECD Anti-Bribery Working Group, among others: “Prosecutorial independence is key to our mandate. Our prosecutors must be objective, independent, and dispassionate, as well as free from improper influence—including political influence.”

Sound like an act of defiance? It was.

But as he lingered there, for a moment or two, none of the assembled media asked The Feminist about something else. Something important. Namely, his repeated claim to be a feminist.

It would have been a very relevant question, too. Across town, Mark Norman’s extraordinary lawyer, Marie Henein—with whom my firm has done work, full disclosure—had just held a press conference with her client. And, as things were getting underway, she had eviscerated The Feminist.

“Before we get started,” she’d said, pausing. “I’d just like to introduce the all female team that represented Vice-Admiral Norman.” She emphasized the words “all female.”  Then, introductions made, she went on, and no one mistook her meaning.

“Fortunately,” Henein said, “Vice-Admiral Norman didn’t fire the females he hired.”

Did you hear that? That was the sound of a metaphorical shiv, sliding between The Feminist’s ribs, aimed at the spot where his soul is supposed to be. It was Marie Henein, who actually knows a thing or two about feminism, pointing out that he had destroyed the careers of two women—Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott—simply because they talked back to him. Simply because they said “no” to a bunch of men who refused to take no for an answer.

Henein wasn’t done, however.  

She next took aim at the PMO’s and the PCO’s months-long effort to deny Mark Norman—and, inferentially, Wilson-Raybould and Philpott—the most basic courtesies. To deny them natural justice, which is at the root of all our laws. To deny them fairness.

Said Henein: “You should be very concerned when anyone tries to erode the resilience of the justice system or demonstrates a failure to understand why it is so fundamental to the democratic values we hold so dear,” she said. “There are times you agree with what happens in a court room there are times you don’t. And that’s fine. But what you don’t do is you don’t put your finger and try to weigh in on the scales of justice. That is not what should be happening.”

She used the occasion of her client’s exoneration to point out something important about The Feminist.

He isn’t one.

Warren Kinsella is a former Jean Chrétien-era cabinet staffer and a former provincial and federal election campaign war roomer. 

The Hill Times 

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