Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

The Globe and Mail reports Trudeau's office was pressured by SNC-Lavalin to help them make a deal after they were accused of paying bribes to get business from the Libyan government.

Central to the allegations that Trudeau's office put undue pressure on Wilson-Raybould is the fact she could have overruled the director of public prosecution's decision on a remediation agreement.

As part of a cabinet shuffle last month, Trudeau reassigned Wilson-Raybould from the justice portfolio to become Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defense.

In response, Arif Virani, parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, repeated over and over the same line that has been the Liberals' only response on the matter: "At no point has the current minister of justice or the former minister of justice been directed or pressured by the prime minister or the prime minister's office to make any decision on this or any other matter".

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is created to make decisions independently, but it is still accountable to the attorney general and can be directed by the attorney general as long that direction is made public. In return, the attorney general bears responsibility for decisions taken, and can't shift it to cabinet.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denied on Thursday a report that his office intervened in the prosecution of Canadian construction giant SNC-Lavalin on charges of fraud and corruption.

Tory Leader Andrew Scheer also suggested Friday morning that his party is looking at pursuing unspecified "legal avenues" if the governing Liberals "continue to cover this up".

"The chief argument that has been made against DPAs is that they may not deter misconduct", said the draft discussion paper on the topic prepared for the deputy minister of finance as a primer ahead of public consultations on the idea in the fall of 2017.

"If the prime minister has nothing to hide as he has suggested then he should have no reason to fear these individuals appearing before the justice committee", Scheer said on Parliament Hill.

During the heady days of Justin Trudeau's "because it's 2015" declaration, Wilson-Raybould's ascension to the role of the nation's top justice official defined the moment.

The New Democrats have since officially requested an investigation from the Ethic's Commissioner.

"All this cries out for some serious investigation", he said in a telephone interview from Burnaby, B.C., where he's campaigning for a seat in the House of Commons in a February 25 byelection.

The NDP have asked Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to investigate this case.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould was unwilling to instruct the director of the service, Kathleen Roussel, to negotiate a "remediation agreement" with SNC-Lavalin, according to sources who were granted anonymity to speak directly about what went on behind-the-scenes.

The company said it provided the prosecutor's office with information showing the objectives of the remediation provisions were "easily met", including details of SNC-Lavalin's efforts to implement a world-class ethics and compliance program, as well as the complete turnover of the company's senior management and board of directors. Three months later, Wilson-Raybould was moved to the veterans affairs post, a move widely seen as a demotion.

Both Scheer and Singh argue the issue cuts to the heart of our democracy and independent system of justice.

"The allegations that we are hearing in the last 24 hours are unprecedented", Scheer said.

"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.

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