The RCMP confirmed Monday evening that it had not launched an investigation into allegations of political interference in the SNC Lavalin trial by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as had been previously reported by numerous outlets.
"In response to numerous media reports, the RCMP can confirm it is not investigating allegations of political interference in the trial of SNC Lavalin," the agency's official account tweeted.
Original story follows:
The RCMP is investigating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Finance Minister Bill Morneau and others for obstruction of justice in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Democracy Watch reported Monday.
Trudeau could face up to 10 years in prison if charged and convicted of the offense.
During Monday’s Question Period in the House of Commons, the Opposition MP Dane Lloyd (CPC-Sturgeon River-Parkland) asked whether Trudeau or any of his cabinet members were under RCMP investigation. Government House Leader Mark Holland (Liberal-Ajax) rose to answer the question but his answer was inaudible. When he was asked a second time, Holland claimed he had already answered the question.
The conservative political and media watchdog filed an Access to Information request with Canada’s national police force on July 27, 2022. The RCMP responded on May 25, 2023 that it has an ongoing investigation into Trudeau, Morneau, assorted staffers and former Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, Canada’s top bureaucrat.
The SNC-Lavalin scandal took down two key ministers in the Trudeau cabinet as well as Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts.
The issue exploded in February 2019 when then-Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Trudeau’s office had tried to bully her into intervening in a fraud and corruption court case against Quebec contractor SNC-Lavalin, a major source of jobs and votes in the province.
The story was first published in a Globe and Mail article.
Wilson-Raybould taped her conversations with Trudeau and appeared before the House of Commons Justice Committee to say that she felt pressured by Trudeau to intervene in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. After she resigned from Trudeau’s cabinet, former Treasury Board Secretary and Minister of Health Jane Philpott also quit the federal cabinet, specifically citing the SNC-Lavalin scandal as the reason for her departure.
Trudeau then ejected both of them from the Liberal caucus. As she resigned, Philpott declared that Canadians needed to know “the whole truth” about the affair.
The RCMP’s response letter, letter to Democracy Watch is 96 pages long and says that “a review of the records revealed that this matter is currently under investigation.” All but 10 of the pages are redacted because, as the police force explains, the case remains under investigation. The RCMP has not commented on any SNC-Lavalin investigation since Aug. 14, 2019, when it would only confirm that it was assessing the potential for criminal charges.
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