Trudeau denies his office 'directed' Jody Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin

10 February, 2019, 14:24 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Jody Wilson Raybould				

In the bombshell report from The Globe and Mail we now understand truly what she meant, because when the now former justice minister refused to drop the fraud and corruption trial against SNC Lavalin, she was sacked.

SNC-Lavalin faces legal trouble over allegations it paid millions of dollars in bribes to obtain government business in Libya, which would be a crime under Canadian law.

Wilson-Raybould's continued refusal to comment on the allegations added fuel to the political fire, started Thursday by a Globe and Mail report that she was demoted in a cabinet shuffle early last month because she refused to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case.

Moreover, as justice minister, Wilson-Raybould was responsible for a 2018 Criminal Code amendment at the heart of the current controversy - which specifically allowed for what's known as deferred prosecutions or remediation agreements to be negotiated rather than pursue criminal prosecutions against corporations.

The SNC Lavalin affair dominated the House of Commons question period on Thursday. "He takes those responsibilities very seriously".

Speaking to reporters in the House of Commons foyer, he said "the Prime Minister himself appears to have fired his own attorney-general for refusing to bow to his demands". It would also mean the criminal prosecution against the company would not continue.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould at a swearing in ceremony on January 14, 2019.

SNC-Lavalin was charged in 2015 by the RCMP and openly called for a remediation agreement to avoid damaging the company, a major employer in Quebec.

"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.

If passed, the committee would hear from Wilson-Raybould, new Attorney General David Lametti, Trudeau's chief of staff, Katie Telford, Trudeau's principal secretary Gerald Butts, Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick, director of public prosecutions Kathleen Roussel, senior PMO advisers Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques; and Wilson-Raybould's chief of staff Jessica Prince.

Singh also pointed out that the demotion of Wilson-Raybould was met with anger from important stakeholders including the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

Given the jobs at stake, officials said, the government would have failed in its duty had there not been discussion about whether to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case. "This is not what we are seeing here", Mr. Scheer said.

Singh said the allegations suggest there may have been possible violations of three sections of the federal Conflict of Interest Act: the prohibitions against public office holders giving preferential treatment to any individual or organization, using insider information to improperly further a person's private interests or seeking to influence a decision to further another person's private interests. Among other things, she wrote that "it is a pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political interference" and that, as attorney general, she believed she must be "always willing to speak truth to power".

"Who spoke to Jody Wilson-Raybould about this SNC-Lavalin case?"

The federal opposition is calling for an emergency committee meeting to investigate allegations the Prime Minister's Office may have tried to politically interfere with criminal proceedings against Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

In its October 19 submission to the Federal Court, SNC-Lavalin said while the public prosecutor has discretion to decide whether to open negotiations on a remediation agreement, this discretion "is not unfettered and must be exercised reasonably" under the law. According to the media reports, Wilson-Raybould was being asked to have a deal made in the case.


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