The Canadian Politician (Toronto) Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party leader has used the “B” word and it is not for brilliance, but betrayal. That is the word used to described Prime Minister Trudeau in the on-going saga of his or his office alleged (if any) role in pressuring the former Justice minister Jody Wilson-Rabould to convert bribery charges against corporate giant and Liberal Party backer, SNC-Lavalin into a DPA (deferred prosecutioin agreement). In the last three years, the company has been facing grave charges of bribery involving Libyan officials and government contracts. A DPA therefore, would enable the giant engineering company headquartered in Quebec to avoid criminal prosecution and accept a guilty plea, pay a hefty fine and improve its governance and procedures.
In the face of these criminal allegations, the company has reportedly lobbied vigorously to launder its image and secure a DPA. At stake is a ten-year ban on lucrative government contracts if found guilty on bribery charges. On October 9, the Director of Public Prosecution,
Kathleen Roussel, ruled that a DPA is not going to be granted. This is where it has been alleged as reported by the Globe (The Canadian Politician has not independently verified this claim) that the PM or his office pressured the justice minister, the first indigenous person to hold that position, to intervene in the criminal proceeding to give the company a DPA. It has been widely reported that the justice minister refused to oblige the prime minister and was subsequently demoted in a cabinet reshuffle to the veteran affairs ministry.
While the prime minister noted that the move of Wilson-Raybould to the above ministry is unconnected with her hardline position on SNC Lavalin legal woos, many believe otherwise and have thanked her for her integrity and defending the independence of the judiciary. Scheer noted, “Canadians owe Jody Wilson-Raybould a debt of gratitude for holding true to her principles and protecting the rule of law when her political masters implored her to abandon it.”
The prime minister has indicated that he had no role in the matter and welcomed the ethics commissioner’s investigation. Both Scheer and Jagmeet Singh, the NDP leader have asked Mr. Trudeau to waive the solicitor-client privilege that would allow Wilson-Raybould to tell Canadians what transpired. There is now growing calls from all parties for Trudeau to tell Canadians what he knows about the controversy.