Former attorney general says she can’t publicly discuss SNC Lavalin allegations

Jody Wilson Raybould				
			Adrian Wyld  THE CANADIAN PRESS

The company, based in Canada's Quebec province, was charged with corruption and fraud in connection with payments of almost 36 million USA dollars in bribes to public officials in the former Libyan government of late leader Muammar Gaddafi and defrauded Libyan organizations of an estimated 98 million dollars between 2001 and 2011.

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau away from Ottawa, the job of taking the fire belonged to current Attorney General David Lametti.

Now, following a report by the Globe and Mail, we have learned what lies behind Wilson-Raybould's dispatch to what effectively appears to be the federal Liberals' ministerial gulag, Veterans Affairs (with no disrespect meant to military veterans).

Neither Wilson-Raybould nor SNC-Lavalin has responded to questions from The Canadian Press about the story. The agreement is a way of holding a company accountable for what it did, but the company itself would not be accountable for the actions of its employees.

SNC-Lavalin shares tumbled in October after prosecutors ruled out a negotiated settlement over past corruption charges.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is created to make decisions independently, but it is still accountable to the attorney general and can be directed by the attorney general as long that direction is made public.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer holds a press conference on Parliament Hill on February 8, 2019.

The attorney general can give the director of public prosecutions directives on general issues and on individual cases, provided the directives are in writing and published in the Canada Gazette, the federal register.

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the allegations suggest Trudeau demoted his attorney general for defying his orders, and he called on the prime minister to immediately reveal what he knew about the matter.

NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Nathan Cullen on Friday wrote to ethics commissioner Mario Dion, suggesting the allegations could represent a breach of a provision of the Conflict of Interest Act that prohibits public office holders from giving "preferential treatment to any person or organization".

"All this cries out for some serious investigation, " he said in a telephone interview from Burnaby, where he is campaigning for a seat in the House of Commons in a February 25 byelection.

"If he truly wants to clear this up and believes there's been no wrongdoing, he should welcome an investigation from the ethics commissioner".

It appears a corporation that has in the past made illegal donations to the Liberal party, among others, was able to influence the government to the point of changing the law and pressuring the attorney general to interfere with a decision of the public prosecutor, Singh said. "However, it is quite appropriate for the Attorney General to consult with Cabinet colleagues before exercising his or her powers under the DPP Act in respect of any criminal proceedings", it says.

She has refused to comment on the alleged pressure from PMO to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal trial, telling the Globe and Mail that the matter is "between me and the government as the government's previous lawyer". A spokesperson for the PMO said in a statement that Wilson-Raybould raised the SNC-Lavalin case with Butts, and he told her to speak with Michael Wernick, the clerk of the privy council.

Wilson-Raybould's father, Bill Wilson, said in a Facebook post Thursday that his daughter's cabinet demotion "makes sense now - ugly political sense".

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