Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Science | By Cecil Little

Wilson-Raybould entered federal politics hoping to be a bridge builder

Wilson-Raybould entered federal politics hoping to be a bridge builder

Wilson-Raybould says she can not discuss allegations that she was pressured by the Prime Minister's Office to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal prosecution.

The company is facing allegations that it bribed Libyan officials millions of dollars to secure government contracts.

The director told SNC-Lavalin in October that negotiating a remediation agreement would be inappropriate in this particular case, prompting the company to ask the Federal Court for an order requiring negotiations.

Was the PMO applying pressure on the Attorney General in an attempt to influence the minister to persuade her prosecutors to move away from the pursuit of criminal corruption and fraud prosecution against global and Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavelin, opting instead for remediation. As justice minister, Wilson-Raybould would have been involved in those discussions.

"On one hand, it was meant to enhance integrity in government by statutorily ensuring independence of the prosecution decision-making function from inappropriate political control, direction and influence", the book says.

"All we've heard are allegations in a newspaper", said Lametti about the SNC-Lavalin affair.

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"The director of public prosecutions has independence in the sense that the attorney general can not give a direction, whether it is a broad policy direction or a specific direction on any given case, without that direction being in writing and Gazetted", Wild said. And even in her role as attorney general, she was not precluded from consulting her colleagues on whether to instruct the public prosecutor to negotiate a remediation agreement.

NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice called the Globe's report "credible journalistic work" and echoed Singh's accusation of the Liberals appeasing their rich associates. "Neither the current nor the previous attorney general was ever directed by me or by anyone in my office to take a decision in this matter".

None of that is likely to matter with opposition politicians, who maintain the whole affair smells like obstruction of justice.

He said requesting that the officials appear at committee is his party's next step because it can happen immediately, though they have also begun exploring other "legal avenues".

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer holds a press conference on Parliament Hill on February 8, 2019.

The list includes Lametti, the prime minister's chief of staff Katie Telford and the prime minister's principal secretary Gerald Butts.

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called The Globe's reporting about pressure exerted by the PMO on Ms. Wilson-Raybould "incredibly disturbing". "MPs have a duty to determine what exactly happened here and Justin Trudeau and his office must be forthcoming".

Singh similarly argued that the prime minister should have nothing to fear from an independent investigation by the federal ethics commissioner.

"All this cries out for some serious investigation", Singh said in a telephone interview with the Canadian Press. "Tell us what happened, be transparent, invite the ethics commissioner to investigate and tell us that this is not the case or, if it is the case, then there's a serious reckoning that needs to happen".

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre: Mr. Speaker, he said "no" earlier today, so we know he is able to answer at least one yes or no question.

"At the end of the day, Canadians deserve to have a government on their side, on the side of justice, not on the side of a multinational corporation".

The Conflict of Interest Act prohibits a member of the government from giving "preferential treatment to any person or organization based on the identity of the person or organization".

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