Earlier today, Mario Dion, the Conflicts of Interests and Ethics Commissioner, concluded that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did, in fact, attempt to inappropriately pressure former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould into providing SNC-Lavalin with Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), in effect breaking the law.
“The prime minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson‑Raybould,” said Dion. “The authority of the prime minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the director of public prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson‑Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”
In his findings, the Commissioner pointed out that SNC had clear financial interests in the matter, and that, in turn, the moves made to further the company’s interests went against the principles of prosecutorial independence.
“The evidence showed that SNC-Lavalin had significant financial interests in deferring prosecution. These interests would likely have been furthered had Mr. Trudeau successfully influenced the Attorney General to intervene in the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision,” wrote Dion.
“The actions that sought to further these interests were improper since they were contrary to the Shawcross doctrine and the principles of prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.”
Yes, you read that right. In Canada, prosecutorial independence could be at risk, and it is because our Prime Minister, who continues to deny wrongdoing even as the facts continue to stack up against him, is willing to go to bat for Canada’s oldest and wealthiest businesses.
That is some Russia-type oligarchy-supporting shit right there, for all Canadians who care about the state of our institutions.
The Prime Minister’s response to all this extremely worrying information?
He accepted the ethics report and took “responsibility,” all the while not really taking responsibility or apologizing.
A Prime Minister famous for apologizing for just about everyone else’s mistakes actually refused to apologize for his own, once again pointing the finger at the potential loss of Canadian jobs at the time.
In response to the damning report, opposition parties and their leaders already pounced on the now ethically tarnished Liberals, with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer commenting that Trudeau must face the nation in the coming election as the first PM in Canadian history to violate ethics laws.
“He clearly put his own partisan interests ahead of the democratic institutions … He made the decision to stay in office, now the decision is in the hands of Canadians,” Scheer said.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh suggested that Trudeau could no longer be PM, as he continued to work in the interest of multi-millionaires and his own reelection.
“Mr. Trudeau, the Prime Minister, is working to benefit the interest of a multi-millionaire corporation and was working to benefit his own self-interest to get re-elected. This is just unacceptable. It is outrageous,” Singh told reporters.
Of course, it wasn’t just opposition leaders. Ex-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, now vindicated in her opposition to the Trudeau Liberal’s crony form of politics also made a public statement.
It should be noted that Jody Wilson-Raybould not only faced racist attacks from individuals within the Liberal camp attempting to discredit her, she also faced a PMO and Prime Minister who actively tried, at every turn, to deny what are now widely acknowledged facts.
While politicians across the aisle have responded in force by calling for direct action, some mainstream journalists have actively attempted to defend the government’s violation of federal law, according to Canadaland’s Jesse Brown.
One has to wonder if Katie Telford is already lining up “all kinds of people” to write positive op-eds about Trudeau’s refusal to apologize and how brave he was to “protect jobs”. One also wonders if the hundreds of millions of dollars that are now on the line are having any impact on journalistic decision making.
While journalists may attempt to theory craft or divert the attention of Canadians, most, like a younger version of Trudeau, are sick and tired of waking up almost every day to find a new government scandal.
To provide some perspective there have been over five serious scandals, and over 40 minor ones.
- Trudeau vacationing on the private island of Aga Khan who has business dealings with government.
- Trudeau breaks ethics codes by trying to exert pressure on AG.
- Trudeau promised to reform Canada’s electoral system to proportional representation – as soon as he discovered it would harm Lib election chances he decided not to do it.
- Trudeau denied Vice-Admiral Mark Norman a fair trial by refusing to release documents that were critical to Mark Norman’s defence.
- Trudeau buys $4.5 billion 60-year-old pipeline
To put it lightly, those are a lot of improprieties in a very short time from this government that came into power with a whole lot of promises. Now it seems we are nearing the point where the camel’s back finally breaks.
When this story originally broke, we argued he should resign for the good of the country and the good of his party.
“If the Prime Minister resigns it could still very well be possible for another Liberal MP such as Jody Wilson-Raybould to win the 2019 election. The 2015 Sunny Ways coalition may be bruised, but it is still the largest group of active voters within the country. With the right potentially split, and the NDP literally a hollow shell of itself, a Liberal party led by someone other than the PM could very well still win. But only if the Prime Minister does the right thing and resigns providing enough time for a new leader to salvage this government and fight in a free and fair election.“
That was then. This is now.
At this point, resignation is no longer a choice for the Prime Minister, or even for the Liberal party. Every senior member, including the over 170 MPs who refused to genuinely hold the Liberal leadership to account by supporting Jody Wilson-Raybould, are now complicit in the actions of the Trudeau government.
Like the Wynne government of Ontario, only total defeat in the coming election will put forward the precedent that Canadian institutions, especially those entrusted with maintaining the rule of law, cannot be tarnished in order to secure the private interests of the wealthy and powerful. No, a resignation will no longer be enough. Now it’s up to both the voters and the RCMP.