House of Commons vote against public inquiry into SNC-Lavalin Scandal

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, face towards the camera left of centre of the frame, is shown near Opposition whip Gordon Brown in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday May 18, 2016. Footage from the Commons television feed shows Trudeau wading into a clutch of MPs, mostly New Democrats, and pulling Opposition whip Gordon Brown through the crowd in order to get a vote started. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-House of Commons **MANDATORY CREDIT**

The Canadian Politician (Toronto) – The House of Commons today voted clearly on party lines on the motion to hold a public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin bribery scandal allegedly involving the Prime Minister or his office. It was highly anticipated before the vote that the motion will not carry, however, what was in doubt was the level of support within the Liberal Party to launch an inquiry into the scandal. Today’s vote however, left no one in doubt as to the position of Liberal Party members on the issue. They voted near unanimously against holding a public inquiry into the scandal that has shaken the Trudeau’s government to its core.  

The scandal involves Canada’s largest engineering company, Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, bribing Libyan government officials during the reign of Col. Muammar Ghadaffi to the amount of $48 million for contracts. As a result, the company is being prosecuted by the government. However, the Globe and Mail reported that the Prime Minister or his office allegedly exacted pressure on then justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to grant the company a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) that would see it avoid prosecution in exchange for a hefty fine and a solemn pledge to change behaviour.

The Canadian Politician has learned that the Liberal Party members who voted in favour of the motion were from Ontario and New Brunswick, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Wayne Long, respectively. In the interest of probity and to avoid blatant conflict of interest, Wilson-Raybould, a Liberal Party member representing Vancouver-Granville riding in British Columbia, abstained from the vote since she is the principal person in the matter. The Liberal Party members well aware of the implications of a public inquiry into whether the PMO’s office sought political interference in a judicial matter in an election year, voted in the interest of self-preservation, not giving the opposition any ammunition in the fall elections. Such public inquiry may potentially adversely impact the ability of the Liberal Party to rally Canadians to its cause in the fall elections. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denied that he or his office pressured Wilson-Raybould to grant a DPA to SNC-Lavalin.

The motion was initiated by the ethics critic of the New Democratic Party, NDP, Charlie Angus, representing Timmins-James bay in Ontario, who insisted that a public inquiry is necessary to get at the truth.

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