Internal discussions on SNC-Lavalin prosecution included Wilson-Raybould

10 February, 2019, 02:10 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Jody Wilson Raybould				
			Adrian Wyld  THE CANADIAN PRESS

Trudeau has called the allegation false, saying nobody in his office gave direction on the case to Wilson-Raybould.

Canada's former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was involved in government discussions last fall about whether engineering firm SNC-Lavalin should be allowed to avoid criminal prosecution, and the talks were perfectly legal, government officials have told The Canadian Press.

If Wilson-Raybould had intervened and asked federal prosecutors to cut a deal in the case, such a move would've become public.

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.

Analyst Yuri Lynk of Canaccord Genuity said the reputational damage of a looming corruption case could hurt SNC-Lavalin more than a ban on federal contract bidding for up to 10 years - one possible outcome of a conviction if the case heads to trial.

Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the justice portfolio last month, with Trudeau naming her veterans affairs minister.

Wilson-Raybould has repeatedly declined comment.

In response, Arif Virani, parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, repeated over and over the same line that has been the Liberals' only response on the matter: "At no point has the current minister of justice or the former minister of justice been directed or pressured by the prime minister or the prime minister's office to make any decision on this or any other matter". But government officials said there was nothing wrong with that.

"The director of public prosecutions has independence in the sense that the attorney general can not give a direction, whether it is a broad policy direction or a specific direction on any given case, without that direction being in writing and Gazetted", Wild said.

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When Wilson-Raybould pushed back, anonymous sources informed the Globe and Mail, she was effectively pushed out. And even in her role as attorney general, she was not precluded from consulting her colleagues on whether to instruct the public prosecutor to negotiate a remediation agreement.

Conservative Opposition Leader Andrew has demanded that parliament convenes an emergency meeting to address the accusations of political interference.

"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. The Ethics Commissioner should also investigate if Justin Trudeau was one of the recipients of the illegal donations.

The list includes Lametti, the prime minister's chief of staff Katie Telford and the prime minister's principal secretary Gerald Butts.

Speaking on CTV's Power Play, Conservative MP Lisa Raitt said that Trudeau should "come clean" on exactly what happened.

Singh similarly argued that the prime minister should have nothing to fear from an independent investigation by the federal ethics commissioner.

"All this cries out for some serious investigation", he said in a telephone interview from Burnaby, B.C., where he's campaigning for a seat in the House of Commons in a February 25 byelection. Scheer called for committee hearings into allegations of political influence into SNC-Lavalin's criminal case.

The Conflict of Interest Act prohibits a member of the government from giving "preferential treatment to any person or organization based on the identity of the person or organization".

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