Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
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Prime Minister Trudeau Under Fire over SNC-Lavalin Claims

Prime Minister Trudeau Under Fire over SNC-Lavalin Claims

The Globe and Mail, citing confidential sources, alleged the Prime Minister's Office put pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was then justice minister and attorney general, to have prosecutors negotiate a "remediated agreement" with SNC-Lavalin.

The Quebec engineering and construction giant has been charged with bribery and corruption in a bid to secure government business in Libya and wanted a deal, allowed under the law, to pay reparations rather than be prosecuted.

The Attorney General of Canada has the ability to become involved in cases such as the SNC-Lavalin case by instructing federal prosecutors to pursue a "remediation agreement" rather than a criminal prosecution.

The Conservatives and NDP are demanding investigations by a Commons committee and the federal ethics commissioner into allegations Wilson-Raybould was pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office.

No remediation agreement was made and Wilson-Raybould was moved to the veterans affairs post in a January cabinet shuffle.

The former federal attorney general is refusing to either sink or protect her prime minister - but it's clear the days of hugs and mutual admiration tweets are history.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the explanations from the prime minister and his team in the wake of the allegations, reported in the Globe and Mail, simply aren't good enough.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is created to make decisions independently, but it is still accountable to the attorney general and can be directed by the attorney general as long that direction is made public.

"If the prime minister truly believes there is no wrongdoing here, he should invite the ethics commissioner to investigate his office's dealings with SNC-Lavalin and whether or not that was a factor in the removal of Ms. Wilson-Raybould from her position as attorney general", NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement.

The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that Wilson-Raybould was demoted in a cabinet shuffle early last month because she wouldn't intervene in the case of SNC-Lavalin.

"Even more shocking, the prime minister may have fired her from her role as our country's first Indigenous justice minister and attorney general", said McLeod, the Conservative party's Indigenous Affairs critic.

"Nothing short of full disclosure is acceptable". "If he continues to fail to be transparent with Canadians, Conservatives will make every effort and explore every option to make sure Justin Trudeau and his office are held accountable".

The PMO and Lametti's office say they haven't contacted by the police, while Wilson-Raybould declined to comment.

Rudd added that, based on Wilson-Raybould's activity on Twitter and Facebook, she's clearly "engaged" with her new job.

Toronto MP Arif Virani, the parliamentary secretary to the current justice minister David Lametti, answered a question in the House of Commons with the most sweeping denial of the story the government has issued so far. Again, did anyone in the Prime Minister's Office communicate with the former justice minister about this case, yes or no?

Wilson-Raybould did not rise in the House to answer questions. If the attorney general directs the Public Prosecution Service of Canada on a case, it gets published publically in the Canada Gazette.

The case is now before a court, and if convicted, SNC-Lavalin could be barred from competing for Canadian government contracts for up to 10 years.

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