Justin Trudeau’s former Attorney-General has given devastating testimony that shows Trudeau and his officials repeatedly tried to get her to interfere with an independent prosecution, for political reasons.
The Globe and Mail reported:
Jody Wilson-Raybould says she faced “consistent and sustained” political pressure from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and top officials, including “veiled threats,” on the need to shelve the criminal prosecution of Montreal’s SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.
In dramatic televised testimony before the House of Commons justice committee spanning 3½ hours, the former justice minister and attorney-general outlined detailed conversations at the highest levels of the Trudeau government about helping the Quebec engineering and construction giant out of its legal difficulties.
Ms. Wilson-Raybould said the intense, behind-the-scenes campaign to press her to intervene in the justice system involved about 10 phone calls and 10 meetings that she characterized as inappropriate between September and December, 2018.
“I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney-general of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a deferred prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavalin,” Ms. Wilson-Raybould told MPs.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer later called on Mr. Trudeau to resign, saying he has “lost the moral authority to govern,” and said the RCMP should investigate. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called for a public inquiry.
This is basically corruption. The Prime Minister, his officials, his Ministers all tried repeatedly to get the Attorney-General to interfere in a prosecution decision, because they were worried about the political impact of a successful prosecution in Quebec, Trudeau’s home state.
Ms. Wilson-Raybould said Mr. Trudeau and other senior officials pressed her to overrule the director of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Kathleen Roussel, and negotiate an out-of-court settlement with SNC-Lavalin – a move that they said would also help the Quebec Liberal Party in last fall’s provincial election.
“After I had made my decision as the attorney-general not to issue a directive, the successive and sustained comments around jobs became inappropriate because I had made my decision and everybody was fully aware that I had made my decision,” she said in response to questions from MPs. “The Quebec election, any partisan considerations before or after, are entirely inappropriate, not relevant to me at the time wearing my judicial hat as the attorney-general.”
This should be unthinkable behaviour. If in NZ a ministerial staffer had gone to Chris Finlayson and tried to bully him into interfering with a prosecution, there would be nothing but a few entrails left of his or her remains.
In a meeting on Sept. 17 last fall that included Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Mr. Wernick, the Prime Minister said he wanted a solution to SNC-Lavalin’s legal troubles, the former attorney-general said.
“The Prime Minister asked me to help out, to find a solution to SNC, citing that if there was no DPA, there would be many jobs lost and that SNC would move from Montreal,” she said. “In response, I explained to him the law … and I told him that I had done my due diligence and made up my mind on SNC and that I was not going to interfere with the decision of the DPP [director of public prosecutions].”
Ms. Wilson-Raybould said the Prime Minister once again cited the potential loss of jobs and then “to my surprise, the clerk started to make the case for the need to have a DPA” in which he noted SNC had a board meeting on Sept. 20 with stockholders and might move its headquarters from Montreal to Britain.
Mr. Trudeau even cited his own political base in Quebec.
“At that point the Prime Minister jumped in stressing that there is an election in Quebec and that ‘I am an MP in Quebec — the member for Papineau,’” she recalled.
If the Liberal Party of Canada had any integrity they’d roll Trudeau immediately.
There is an election later this year. Trudeau was highly likely to be re-elected but the latest poll has the Liberals 7% behind the Conservatives. And that was taken before this explosive hearing.
Trudeau now has a -20% net approval rating. Again that was before this hearing. The election is on the 21st of October, so will be an interesting seven months.