Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

Was the PMO applying pressure on the Attorney General in an attempt to influence the minister to persuade her prosecutors to move away from the pursuit of criminal corruption and fraud prosecution against worldwide and Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavelin, opting instead for remediation.

Canada's current Minister of Justice is David Lametti, he was appointed to cabinet in January in a shuffle that saw Wilson-Raybould moved into the Veterans' Affairs portfolio, which was viewed by some as a demotion.

The company also cited the "negative impact of the ongoing uncertainty related to the charges" on its business.

"Neither the current nor the previous attorney general was ever directed by me or anyone in my office to take a decision in this matter", he said. "However, it is quite appropriate for the Attorney General to consult with Cabinet colleagues before exercising his or her powers under the DPP Act in respect of any criminal proceedings", it says. 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.

The amendment was meant to bring Canada in line with its other major allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom and France, which all have similar provisions in their laws.

As attorney general, Wilson-Raybould could have become involved in the case against the company by directing federal prosecutors to negotiate a "remediation agreement", a way of undoing damage without admitting the company itself was at fault for things particular employees did.

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.

The company said it provided the prosecutor's office with information showing the objectives of the remediation provisions were "easily met", including details of SNC-Lavalin's efforts to implement a world-class ethics and compliance program, as well as the complete turnover of the company's senior management and board of directors. Quebec Premier Francois Legault has also pressured Trudeau directly to intervene on the company's behalf.

Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

"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.

Officials pointed to a document entitled "Open and Accountable Government" on the PMO website, which spells out the conduct expected of ministers, including a lengthy section on the dual role of the justice minister and attorney general.

Wilson-Raybould did not intervene, and is refusing to say anything on the matter.

None of that is likely to matter with opposition politicians, who maintain the whole affair smells like obstruction of justice.

Meanwhile, the NDP is also calling for the ethics commissioner to investigate the allegations, as is Ottawa-based ethics watchdog Democracy Watch.

On Friday morning, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said that if the prime minister has "nothing to hide", he should have no problem with the committee hearings.

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

"The chief argument that has been made against DPAs is that they may not deter misconduct", said the draft discussion paper on the topic prepared for the deputy minister of finance as a primer ahead of public consultations on the idea in the fall of 2017. "MPs have a duty to determine what exactly happened here and Justin Trudeau and his office must be forthcoming".

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