Commons Ethics Commissioner to Investigate PMO over SNC-Lavalin

National Politics
National Politics

OTTAWA – POLITICS – On Monday, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, agreed to a request from the federal New Democrats to begin an investigation into what the NDP say are the attempts by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his office to provide SNC-Lavalin with a reduced punishment stemming from serious corruption charges.

“This is the latest in a long string of scandals that make it clear whose side Justin Trudeau is on: corporations and the super-rich,” charges NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “Canada’s Ethics Commissioner agrees there are sufficient grounds to begin an independent investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his office for the alleged special treatment they gave SNC-Lavalin. The Liberals keep telling us how important an independent justice system is, but it all goes out the window when their friends are in trouble. The Liberals give big companies all the breaks while Canadians have to play by the rules and are still getting squeezed.”

Both the federal Conservatives and New Democrats have been at the Prime Minister over the allegations that pressure from the PMO was directed at the then Attorney General.

“Justin Trudeau promised Canadians he would change the way politics worked in Ottawa, but instead his Liberal government continues to prioritize helping insiders and the rich get ahead. Canadians deserve better,” said NDP Ethics Critic Charlie Angus. “It’s no wonder that most Canadians feel like it’s big companies who are getting all the breaks, and not them. Canadians deserve to know whose side this government is on: everyday Canadians who follow the rules or a massive multinational corporation with deep ties to the Liberal Party?”

Conservative Pressure Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

Conservative Justice Shadow Minister Lisa Raitt urged the five Liberal MPs on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to support a motion calling for key government officials to testify on the SNC-Lavalin affair later this week.

The committee will meet on Wednesday to vote on the motion calling on nine government officials – including former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould, current Attorney General David Lametti, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Katie Telford, his Senior Advisor Mathieu Bouchard, and his Principal Secretary Gerald Butts – to face questions over reports that the Prime Minister’s Office pressured Ms. Wilson-Raybould to interfere in SNC-Lavalin’s criminal prosecution.

Raitt sent letters this morning to Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather (Mount Royal), Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton-Centre), Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale), Colin Fraser (West Nova), and Ron McKinnon (Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam) calling on them to support the motion.

“Canadians demand answers and these five Liberal MPs can make sure they get them,” Raitt said. “They have a duty to put the interests of the country ahead of their party and Conservatives are calling on them to do so on Wednesday.”

Raitt cited New Brunswick Liberal MP Wayne Long who has called for a “full and transparent investigation” into the matter. “I commend Mr. Long for realizing the seriousness of these allegations against the Prime Minister and I hope the Liberals on the Justice Committee follow his lead,” Raitt said.

The New Democrats state that “Pressure to go easy on SNC-Lavalin may have resulted in the termination of Jody Wilson Raybould as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the first Indigenous woman to ever hold the post. In recent days, Liberal operatives have attempted to smear Wilson-Raybould’s performance even though she was widely seen as a credible and competent Minister throughout her tenure.”

“We urge Mr. Trudeau’s team to stop trying to discredit Ms. Wilson-Raybould and to commit to fully cooperate with the Ethic Commissioner’s investigation. The Liberal government should also support the work of the Justice Committee who will be looking into other questions such as, why was the law that would help SNC-Lavalin changed in the first place and who pressured the former Attorney General to let SNC-Lavalin off the hook,” said NDP BC Liaison Nathan Cullen, “Canadians deserve answers. This scandal goes to the heart of our democracy and the fairness of our legal system.”