Amidst Official Opposition calls for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step down over allegations of political interference in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, 65 per cent of Liberal voters still back him as leader but only 37 per cent actually believe him according to results from a new poll by Campaign Research.
“Overall, Canadians found Jody Wilson-Raybould to be more convincing with 49% agreeing with her version of events and only 13% agreeing with Justin Trudeau’s version,” according to Campaign Research of responses it received from an online survey of nearly 1900 people coast-to-coast.
Wilson-Raybould’s version of events is that Trudeau and others “inappropriately pressured her” when she was then-attorney general – even made what she termed as “veiled threats” – to divert SNC’s prosecution for bribery and corruption charges.
SNC-Lavalin and two of its subsidiaries stand accused of paying $48 million in bribes to Libyan officials to win contracts there between 2001 and 2011. If convicted the company faces a 10-year ban on bidding for federal contracts but a deferred prosecution agreement – a new criminal code provision included in 2018’s budget bill – would allow fines and corporate integrity undertakings to supplant a trial and/or prosecution.
Trudeau’s version, consistent among his inner-circle that have spoken publicly, is overtures Wilson-Raybould recounts consitute normal cabinet business considering the thousands of jobs that are exposed.
Not suprisingly, 80 per cent of Conservative voters who participated in the survey believe Wilson-Raybould, with “virtually none (2%) believing” the PM, however just 37 per cent of Liberal voters believe Trudeau. Moreover, nearly one-in-three among the survey’s Liberal camp remain unsure, 19 per cent don’t believe him and 15 per cent believe the woman Trudeau demoted to Veterans Affairs, before the Globe and Mail story broke last month alleging the political interference and she resigned from cabinet altogether.
“That’s a big problem for him and his party,” said Campaign Research CEO Eli Yufest of Trudeau’s credibility rating among supporters.
Across the country and partisan lines, 35 per cent agreed with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s calls for Trudeau to resign over the affair, 20 per cent remained unsure and 45 per cent disagreed – these numbers vary region by region.
“In Alberta, support for his resignation was much higher than the average (59%), while in Quebec, 52% disagreed that the Prime Minister should resign,” according to Campaign Research.
In a three-way straw poll for government leadership – status quo, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland or ex-supreme prosecutor Wilson-Raybould – 22 per cent of survey respondents stuck with Trudeau while 17 per cent chose Wilson-Raybould over Freeland (13%). Nearly half of respondents could not decide between the three options.