It’s hard not to notice on any media outlet you may use that here in Canada the story of the week has been the SNC-Lavelin scandal which involves the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office). I’m no expert on political issues, but from my understanding of the various stories I have read, SNC-Lavelin staff requested help from the PMO concerning criminal charges they were facing. Back in 2015, SNC-Lavalin was charged with bribing public officials within the Libyan government. Even though the issues were in a foreign country, the company broke Canadian laws, namely federal anti-corruption legislation.
In Canada, there is a definite line between politics and legal proceedings. The charges against SNC-Lavelin are supposed to be dealt with by a court and there is supposed to be zero influence by politicians on the outcome of those proceedings. SNC-Lavelin is a huge contractor located in Quebec and is one of the largest such companies in the world with thousands of employees both here in Canada and in various other countries. SNC-Lavelin also bids on numerous government contracts, both here in Canada and abroad in other countries. Here in Canada, if a company is found guilty of breaking anti-corruption laws, they are automatically exempt from bidding on Canadian government contracts for a minimum of 10 years. This is where the issues start to unravel.
A story came out a short time ago that there may have been some influence by the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) regarding the pending charges against SNC-Lavelin, which if true, is against the law. Once the story broke in the news, the opposition parties in the House of Commons began jumping all over the governing Liberals for information on what exactly happened within the PMO. The Attorney General at the time these conversations between the PMO and SNC-Lavelin officials, Jody Wilson-Raybould, was demoted to minister of Veteran’s Affairs last month during a cabinet shuffle. When questioned recently of what transpired during the time period in question, she had maintained that she is unable to comment due to client-solicitor privilege. Earlier this week, she resigned her position in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet and then hired a former Supreme Court of Canada judge to advise her on the matter.
If the government did interfere in the SNC-Lavelin criminal case, there is no excuse they can provide that would make it alright. If SNC-Lavelin is found guilty of the charges and no longer able to bid on government contracts, it will likely result in numerous job losses for Canadians. But this is something the company officials should have thought out before they were bribing government officials to win contracts. Most companies work within the rules and regulations and don’t offer bribes to win jobs. Back in 2018 within the omnibus budget bill there was a provision put in by the Liberal government that allowed corporations charged with certain offences to avoid prosecution by signing “remediation agreements”. There are those who believe that this was placed into the budget specifically for the benefit of SNC-Lavelin.
On February 13th, there was an emergency meeting held by the House of Commons Justice Committee. I watched the proceedings live as they occurred and I have to say that I wasn’t surprised at the outcome, but I was very disappointed at how these people within this committee who are supposed to be unbiased all seemed to come to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong done and would not agree to having the key players within this controversy to subsequently testify under oath in a hearing. As the committee has a Liberal member majority, it wasn’t surprising that they voted the motion by an opposition party down. But there is supposed to be no partisan politics within such a committee and what is preventing the Liberal members of this committee from wanting to get to the truth, which I would think most Canadians want? When another motion was put before the committee to have the Prime Minister waive the solicitor-client privilege, that was voted down as well.
I learned a saying many years ago that seems to fit this current situation with Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government, “those that have nothing to hide, hide nothing”. To refuse having those supposedly involved from answering questions in a hearing tells me that there is something being hidden. Justin Trudeau previously was saying he stood beside his former Attorney General and her decision to use the solicitor-client privilege, but recently he threw her under the bus and is now saying that she chose not to divulge information to him that she should have. So now there is information that should have been provided, but the House of Commons Justice Committee says there was nothing said.
Given that this is an election year, a scandal such as this is not going to fare well when voters go to the polls later this year. If Justin Trudeau or anyone within his office were involved in helping SNC-Lavelin with their criminal case, he needs to resign as Prime Minister and I believe that there needs to be criminal charges made against those who were involved and that they should fully all be prosecuted. Justin Trudeau was already found to have violated rules of Parliament by the Ethics Commissioner and now once again, this matter is going before that office. Justin Trudeau hasn’t been a very good example of a Prime Minister and most of us don’t care what our elected officials look like, we want them to be effective at serving Canadians at the highest level and doing it with integrity and within the law. This doesn’t seem to be the way Justin Trudeau conducts himself. Justin Trudeau is only interested in serving Justin Trudeau and seems to think as Prime Minister he is above the law and can do whatever. We need to vote this weasel out come election day.
Now that there has been testimony by the former Jody Wilson-Raybould, who, threw the Prime Minister under the bus along with several others, there have been several demands from opposition members for his resignation. So, there are others besides me who think this Prime Minister would be doing the country a favor by stepping down. This is a story that is getting coverage daily and seems like one that won’t be going away anytime soon. There will be more on this story in the coming weeks and it will be interesting to see how this transpires over time.
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