Trudeau in ethics probe over handling of Libyan contract fraud

Trudeau in ethics probe over handling of Libyan contract fraud

Wilson-Raybould - who had been serving as Minister of Veteran Affairs and associate Minister of National Defence - resigned from cabinet on Tuesday amid questions about whether the Prime Minister's Office pressured her in her previous roles as justice minister and attorney general to help the Quebec-based engineering company avoid criminal prosecution over corruption allegations. Entirely unclear are what those answers might be. Maybe she could change things using the master's tools in the master's house. No, scratch that: The jury is in.

"If Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government shut the justice committee's work down, it would send a unsafe signal to Canadians about the state of our democracy".

Wilson-Raybould, who the Globe and Mail said had ignored the pressure to go easy on SNC-Lavalin, was demoted from the justice ministry last month.

The company, its global arm and another subsidiary are accused of having offered C$47 million (US$36 million) in bribes to officials and of defrauding the Libyan government of C$130 million (US$98 million).

Then, on Tuesday night, the prime minister seemed to throw Wilson-Raybould under the bus.

A former Canadian justice minister says the Trudeau government's handling of the ongoing SNC-Lavalin scandal fits with other allegations of "political interference" in Ottawa. That has only raised more questions.

Jody Wilson-Raybould announced her resignation from cabinet on Tuesday. However, the Globe report never alleged that she was ordered to reach a settlement, but rather that she was put under pressure to do so.

The resignation letter on Jody Wilson-Raybould's site. Some experts say Trudeau could waive that privilege if he were so inclined.

She served as Canada's Attorney General from 2015 until last month, when she was moved to the Veterans Affairs portfolio in a political move that surprised many.

In Fredericton, N.B., Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Wilson-Raybould's resignation proves there's more to the SNC-Lavalin story than Trudeau has been letting on. "I am in the process of obtaining advice on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in this matter, and as such have retained Honerable Thomas Albert Cromwell, CC as counsel", Wilson-Raybould wrote in the letter.

Does that speak for itself?

"In regards to the matter of SCN-Lavalin, let me be direct".

Bill C-16 that updated the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression " passes in the Senate.

"They perpetuate colonial-era, sexist stereotypes that Indigenous women can not be powerful, forthright, and steadfast in positions of power, but rather confrontational, meddling and egotistic", the letter to Trudeau reads.

The Canadian charges against SNC-Lavalin were just the latest blow to one of the world's largest construction and engineering firms, after its former president and senior executives were accused of fraud, and the World Bank banned it from bidding on projects until 2023 due to "misconduct" in Bangladesh and Cambodia.

"It has always been my view that the Attorney General of Canada must be non-partisan, more transparent in the principles that are the basis of decisions, and, in this respect, always willing to speak truth to power".

Such direction might be legal.

SNC-Lavalin was charged with paying out $48 million in bribes to Libyan officials in the decade leading up to the NATO-led overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi's government in 2011, payments meant to influence government decision-making, though the company was also charged with defrauding Libyan companies of about $130 million. There's a reason the law says direction from the minister to prosecutors has to be made public.

Related Articles