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Dear Editor: So, it looks as though Jody Wilson-Raybould was right after all. Mr Trudeau and his fellow lobbyists did indeed apply undue pressure to the Attorney General, pushing her to grant SNC Lavalin a deferred prosecution.

In short, they broke the law – specifically the Conflict of Interest Act. This is the gist of the report that the Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion released on August 14th.

The Act prohibits any high official in government from seeking to influence another to “improperly further another person’s private interests.” In this case, the PM and his ministers wanted the Attorney General to allow SNC Lavalin to avoid a trial on charges of bribing governments to secure contracts.

Andrew Scheer jumped into the fray saying that Trudeau is not as advertised. Valid point, but perhaps he is forgetting his own government’s sins. Remember those? Here are some:

  • Hush money to Mike Duffy.
  • Refusing to comply with a court decision obliging the government to share, with the Parliamentary Budget Officer, information on the costs of its budget cuts.
  • Shutting down the inquiry into the Afghan detainee affair by proroguing Parliament.
  • A suite of legislative measures designed to prevent workers from organizing to protect themselves.
  • Any number of omnibus bills that hid key government programs.

It’s a long list, and you can find it here: https://thetyee.ca/Documents/2015/09/24/Harper%20ebook%20final.pdf.

The stink of the SNC Lavalin affair has tainted the Green Party as well. Elizabeth May recently floated the idea that the company should do “community service” for its wrong-doing by building water treatment plants for First Nations. It would be a lot easier on the public purse she said.

Leave aside the fact that she has already passed judgement on SNC Lavalin, whose trial begins September 20; and the fact that this too (if she were PM) would be interference in the prosecution of a case. The idea of sending First Nations a crooked company (if it is judged to be so) to do what we should have done years ago is born of the same colonial thinking that has ruined our relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

Why is it important when a governing party violates our Conflict of Interest laws? Because they are our ethics laws and because prosecutorial independence is an important principle of governance. Governing parties have a huge influence over our affairs. They must avoid tainting the business of prosecutions with political concerns and the interests of third parties if they want justice to serve more than ‘just us.’

Jody Wilson-Raybould knew that and pushed back.

David McLaren, Neyaashiinigmiing

David McLaren was the federal NDP candidate for BGOS in 2015




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