Ethics Commissioner launches investigation into SNC-Lavalin case

Jodi Wilson-Raybould

Jodi Wilson-Raybould

She was then later shuffled out of the justice file and into veterans' affairs, a move some have seen as a demotion and one now that the opposition parties are framing as being the result of allegedly not following the PMO's orders in the SNC-Lavalin case.

But in remarks to the Canadian Bar Associations' annual meeting, David Lametti outlined how his unique job and roles differ from other ministers around the cabinet table.

"But there is a line that can not be crossed - telling the attorney general what a decision ought to be".

"And at the end of the day, I abide by the longstanding principle that when acting as attorney general I will apply my judicial mind to a decision, and not my political mind".

It's been almost a month since Lametti was shuffled into the role of justice minister and attorney general.

Federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion said Monday that, in response to requests from NDP MPs Nathan Cullen and Charlie Angus, he has launched an inquiry into allegations reported by the Globe and Mail last week that the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to stand down an ongoing criminal prosecution of Quebec engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin, on bribery charges.

If the company was convicted they'd be banned from securing Canadian government contracts for a decade.

Remediation agreements, otherwise known as a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, can include having the company accept responsibility, denounce the wrongdoing, vow to implement corrective measures, and pay financial penalties.

Wilson-Raybould has been keeping a low profile since the allegations broke.

"I'm the attorney general", he said.

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"But in the present situation, they must be subordinated to a higher value: the confidence of Canadians in the integrity, fairness and impartiality of our criminal justice system", Scheer wrote.

Long stresses he's not "rushing to any judgment" in the matter, but believes "a full and transparent investigation" by the House of Commons justice committee is necessary to provide answers in the affair.

Conservatives and New Democrats on the justice committee joined forces to get an emergency meeting on Wednesday to consider a motion calling on nine high-ranking government officials to testify, including Wilson-Raybould herself.

Trudeau said he respects Wilson-Raybould's view she can't talk publicly about these matters because of solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality - which seems a bit odd since he's talking about them - and that the fact she's still in his cabinet demonstrates he has confidence in her.

Trudeau said that he has met with Wilson-Raybould "a couple of times" since arriving in B.C. over the weekend. Wilson-Raybould represents the British Columbia riding of Vancouver Granville.

Trudeau says Wilson-Raybould reminded him of a conversation they had last fall, in which he says he told her it was entirely up to her as attorney general to decide whether to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin over its dealings in Libya, thereby avoiding a criminal trial.

"In our system of government, of course, her presence in cabinet should actually speak for itself".

The federal conflict of interest and ethics commissioner has agreed to launch an investigation into allegations of interference by the Prime Minister's Office in the SNC-Lavalin case, the NDP has confirmed.

"We urge Mr. Trudeau's team to stop trying to discredit Ms. Wilson-Raybould and to commit to fully cooperate with the Ethic Commissioner's investigation", said Cullen in the statement announcing the investigation was going ahead.

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