What did the prime minister know? Ethics Commissioner looking into SNC Lavalin allegations

What did the prime minister know? Ethics Commissioner looking into SNC Lavalin allegations

The State
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[National Post] Canada’s ethics watchdog has launched an investigation into allegations that the Prime Minister’s Office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help construction giant SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution, even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he told Wilson-Raybould personally last fall that the decision was hers to make.

VIDEO: [CP] Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer calls for Parliamentary inquiry into Liberal’s SNC-Lavalin dealings. [Feb. 11, 2019]


Ethics commissioner Mario Dion confirmed his investigation Monday in a letter to NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Nathan Cullen, who raised possible violations of the Conflict of Interest Act.

In the letter, Dion said he has “reason to believe that a possible contravention of section 9 (of the act) may have occurred.” That section prohibits public office holders from trying to influence decisions that could “improperly further another person’s private interests.”

Speaking to reporters at a housing announcement in Vancouver, Trudeau said he welcomes the investigation, as “it’s extremely important that Canadians can continue to have confidence in our system.”

He said he had met twice with Wilson-Raybould, who represents a downtown Vancouver riding, since he arrived in the city on Sunday, though she was not present with him at the announcement. He said he still has “full confidence in Jody,” and said she acknowledged that he had affirmed her independence as attorney general in a meeting months ago.

“We spoke about our shared goals for our country and for this government,” he said. “She confirmed for me a conversation we had this fall where I told her directly that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions were hers alone.”

A Globe and Mail report last week cited unnamed sources who said the Prime Minister’s Office pushed Wilson-Raybould to direct federal prosecutors to negotiate a deal with SNC-Lavalin that would have led to a fine instead of a criminal trial.

The Quebec company was charged in 2015 with bribing Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011 in exchange for construction contracts.

This article continues at [National Post] Ethics comm. invetigates SNC-Lavalin political interference

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