Internal discussions on SNC-Lavalin prosecution included Wilson-Raybould

Mindy Sparks
February 10, 2019

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 holding an organization to account for wrongdoing without a formal finding of guilt.

The Globe reports that SNC-Lavalin repeatedly lobbied Justin Trudeau's aides for a deal and Trudeau's office leaned on Wilson-Raybould to make it happen.

Consequently, they said, it was natural that internal discussions would have taken place after the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, informed SNC-Lavalin last October that a remediation agreement would be inappropriate in this case.

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 government denies the allegations that surfaced Thursday in a Globe and Mail report, but Wilson-Raybould's continued refusal to comment on the matter has added fuel to the political fire.

"Mr. Speaker, 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", Virani said.

"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.

During the heady days of Justin Trudeau's "because it's 2015" declaration, Wilson-Raybould's ascension to the role of the nation's top justice official defined the moment.

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.

"Nothing short of full disclosure is acceptable".

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Trudeau's response was carefully crafted and legally vetted. "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".

Meantime, the parliamentary secretary to justice has offered the most sweeping denial yet from the Trudeau government.

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

"Everyone was so proud that the former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada was an Indigenous woman", McLeod said.

Conservative MP Mark Strahl baldly accused the government of firing Wilson-Raybould for failing to follow orders. In this case, the client is the Prime Minister's Office.

Wilson-Raybould has refused to confirm or deny any of the allegations in the report, despite repeated demands from the opposition in the House of Commons on Thursday for her to answer questions.

The attorney general is thus allowed to direct prosecutors - but crucially, the direction must appear in a government publication called the Canada Gazette, which is viewable by the public.

The fact that such directives must be done publicly is meant to constrain a justice minister from doing anything overtly political.

A guilty verdict on bribery and corruption charges would result in SNC-Lavalin being barred from government contracts in Canada for 10 years.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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