PM Justin Trudeau welcomes ethics probe into SNC-Lavalin case

Ethics Commissioner launches investigation into SNC-Lavalin case

The PM allegedly pressured former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to curtail the criminal prosecution of a multi-million-dollar corruption and fraud case against SNC-Lavalin, redirecting the matter out of the courts and into a "remediation agreement", which would have spared the company the negative financial and reputational consequences of a criminal trial - the most devastating of which would include a 10-year ban from accepting government contracts, a stipulation which would economically cripple the Montreal engineering firm.

Ms Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the justice portfolio last month and into veteran's affairs, a move widely seen as a demotion.

SNC-Lavalin has argued it should be allowed to avoid a trial because it has changed following the federal charges and it has "worked tirelessly to achieve excellence in governance and integrity".

On Monday, ethics commissioner Mario Dion announced that he has launched an investigation into the allegation, saying he has "reason to believe" there may have been a possible violation of Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act.

That section prohibits any official responsible for high-level decision-making in government from seeking to influence the decision of another person so as to "improperly further another person's private interests".

"We welcome the ethics commissioner's investigation", Trudeau said. "I don't think Wayne, as a backbencher, is in that type of position".

Wilson-Raybould was not among the British Columbia Liberal MPs who attended multiple events with Trudeau in the Vancouver area.

On Monday, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau said he continues "to have full confidence in Jody".

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Since Thursday, Wilson-Raybould has refused to comment on the allegations, citing solicitor-client privilege.

The Liberal government maintains that while discussions on the matter took place with Wilson-Raybould, she wasn't pressured or told to issue a directive to the prosecutor.

He also wouldn't address calls from the Opposition for the government to waive solicitor-client privilege for his predecessor.

"We welcome the ethics commissioner's investigation", the prime minister said following an event in Vancouver, Wilson-Raybould's hometown.

On Wednesday, the House justice committee will meet to review a request from the opposition parties that the committee investigate the allegations.

Trudeau wouldn't commit to that on Monday, and instead told reporters he has asked his new attorney general, David Lametti, to review that option and report back.

"How the law treats individuals or corporations in our society is not, and should never be, incumbent upon the political pressure they can exert upon politicians", Long said in the statement.

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