Trudeau short of answers on ethics law violation in SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal in Thursday’s debate

The Canadian Politician – In the French language debate held on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared not to have an answer to Conservative leader Scheer’s accusation that he broke the ethics law with his actions on the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal that rocked the Liberal Party to its core. When told to question any leader, Scheer who was standing next to the prime minister turned and stated that Trudeau broke the ethics law when he pressured then attorney-general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to change course on the prosecution of the Montreal-based engineering giant who stand accused of bribing Libyan government officials to gain government contract.

It was alleged that Trudeau pressured the MP from British Columbia to pressure the director of public prosecution to offer the company what is known as a DPA – Differed Prosecution Agreement, where the company will pay a fine and show proof of genuine repentance. It was further alleged that her refusal to agree to the prime minister’s wishes led to her removal from the attorney-general’s position and her reassignment to the Veteran Affairs ministry. She resigned only four weeks on the job. Wilson-Raybould, an indigenous minister, testified before a House Justice Committee that she was the target of what she called a “Sustained pressure” from the PMO (prime minister’s office) to save the construction giant from prosecution. The prosecution may impact thousands of jobs as the company will be banned from vying for a federal contracts for ten years if found guilty.

Trudeau responded that when you are prime minister, it is your responsibility to protect jobs of Canadians and that was what is was doing when he got involved, giving credence in a way to the allegations of pressure from Wilson-Raybould. However, he missed an opportunity to address the accusation of ethics law violation, a point critical and of grave public interest leading to the elections. Trudeau was reminded that he could be within the ambit of the ethics law and still be able to protect Canadian jobs – the two are not mutually exclusive.

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