Saturday, February 27, 2021

Marie Henein’s firm hired by Rideau Hall’s top bureaucrat as tensions rise over workplace review

Marie Henein's firm hired by Rideau Hall's top bureaucrat as tensions rise over workplace review

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Henein last made headlines in Ottawa for representing Vice Admiral Mark Norman, once the second-highest commanding officer in the military, as he defended himself against a criminal charge of breach of trust. Crown prosecutors eventually stayed the charge after concluding there wasn’t a reasonable prospect of conviction, and Norman reached a settlement with the government.

Multiple sources, granted anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, say the hire is a sign battle lines are being drawn not only between Rideau Hall and the rest of government, but within Rideau Hall itself. Sources told the Post that relations are very strained between Payette and di Lorenzo over the workplace review and its fallout.

If the government concludes Payette can no longer stay in the job, the normal course of events would be for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who appointed Payette in 2017 — to ask her to resign. If she declines, the Prime Minister would have to call Buckingham Palace to request Payette’s removal.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined a request for comment. The Rideau Hall press office has not yet responded to questions sent early Thursday morning.

Speculation is also running high about di Lorenzo’s future at Rideau Hall given the conclusions in the workplace review, which sources say runs to nearly 200 pages. Participation in the review was voluntary, but one source told the Post that more than 100 people were interviewed as part of the review.

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