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He caved:

‎Today, ‎February ‎25, ‎2019, ‏‎8 minutes ago

John Ivison: The Liberals already had a plan B for SNC Lavalin, so why did they even bother risking a scandal?

‎Today, ‎February ‎25, ‎2019, ‏‎42 minutes ago | John Ivison

There is no calm for the Liberals as the storm of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s upcoming appearance at the justice committee rumbles towards them.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons Monday he has waived solicitor-client privilege, freeing the former justice minister to talk about “relevant matters” as long as she does not touch on two court cases involving SNC Lavalin.

Meanwhile, Wilson-Raybould said in a letter to the committee chair that she is willing to testify at the “first opportunity,” but wants to make sure there is clarity on possible constraints on what she can say — which suggests it may not be in the next couple of days.

While we don’t know when Wilson-Raybould will appear at committee, we do know she wants 30 minutes for an opening statement. You don’t need half an hour to say that the whole SNC Lavalin saga, and recent allegations of political interference in the justice system, are just a big misunderstanding.

On Monday afternoon the committee heard from a former Saskatchewan judge who has gone on record as saying the affair should be investigated by the RCMP. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has said a police investigation is necessary to restore public confidence in the administration of justice, calling the prospect of the attempted influence over a prosecution “not only immoral, (but) illegal.”

Last week I suggested that Wilson-Raybould’s appearance at cabinet and Liberal caucus might auger a closing of ranks and an attempt by all sides to tamp down more controversy. After the clerk of the Privy Council’s unconventional committee appearance last week and Wilson-Raybould’s letter of intent, I’m less sure.

The appearance at committee of Michael Wernick, Canada’s top bureaucrat, suggested he thinks there is nothing to see here — that Canadians should have faith in the system because laws are “demonstrably working” when it comes to prosecutorial independence, lobbying and government ethics. “The shields held,” he said last Thursday.

As to his own conversation with Wilson-Raybould on December 19th last year, he made clear he believes it was neither immoral nor illegal. He said he told the then-attorney general her colleagues and the prime minister were “quite anxious” about the future of SNC and discussed whether a deferred prosecution agreement for the company was still an option. “I can tell you with complete assurance that my view of the conversation is that it was within the boundaries of what is lawful and appropriate,” he said. “I was informing the minister of context.”


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during question period in the House of Commons on Feb. 25, 2019.

The adjudicator of whether Wernick, and perhaps even the prime minister himself, crossed any lines will be the ethics commissioner. If prosecutors agree with Turpel-Lafond, the affair may even end up before the courts and be settled by a judge.

But what perplexes me is why Wernick, the prime minister, and senior advisers Gerald Butts and Katie Telford even discussed a remediation agreement for SNC after Wilson-Raybould made clear she was not disposed to negotiate one, when a perfectly sound plan B was already being worked on.

As my colleague Gabriel Friedman revealed in the Post on Saturday, the department of Public Services and Procurement is finalizing changes to the Ineligibility and Suspension Policy under the Integrity regime. This word salad governs whether corporations convicted of crimes can bid on federal projects.

SNC’s fear is that a conviction on corruption charges for bribing Libyan officials could lead to a 10-year ban on access to government infrastructure projects — the source of around 15 per cent of its $9 billion in revenue in 2017.


Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

But the changes being contemplated by the government could reduce the ineligibility period from the automatically mandated 10 years to a debarment at the government’s discretion.

This policy change has been in the works for years — the public was invited to comment back in fall 2017 and the government says the update is being “studied and finalized.” A statement in the revised policy consultation said it is expected to take effect in “early 2019.”

One lawyer Friedman quoted said the debarment could conceivably be reduced to six months, a year or even no ineligibility at all. The proposed changes would widen the scope of offences that could lead to debarment, including human trafficking and environmental violations. The idea is that a one-size-fits-all punishment must be made more flexible if the range of offences is broadened.

SNC chief executive Neil Bruce has said the failure to secure a DPA would likely lead to three to four more years of court battles because the company considers itself not guilty.

But unless I’m missing something, a DPA would require an admission of culpability.

Under the new integrity regime, the company would also have to admit to wrongdoing before throwing itself on the mercy of the Registrar of Ineligibility and Suspension at Public Services. But, in that event, the company could claim mitigating circumstances, because the executives who perpetrated the alleged corruption have left and steps have been taken to ensure there is no repeat of the errant conduct.

So if the government already had an alternative to a deferred prosecution agreement that is expected to become policy in the next month or so, why did the prime minister and his most senior advisors risk flirting with immorality, if not illegality?

As Conservative leader Andrew Scheer asked Monday, if the decision to grant or refuse a deferred prosecution agreement was Wilson-Raybould’s alone — as the prime minister maintains — why did he apply “relentless pressure” to get her to change her mind?

The only answer that makes any sense is: because he could.

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On 2/24/2019 at 8:57 AM, Malcolm said:

and wander out to shake a few hands and have a couple of chats with real people in real language about what they’re feeling


It was cold outside

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Liberals’ double standard

  • Calgary Herald
  • 26 Feb 2019

The hypocrisy of the federal Liberals is not only sickening but extremely dangerous to this country.

In the SNC-Lavalin case, they pressure a minister over prosecution, allow criminal charges to lapse and invent bureaucratic ploys to bend and mitigate the law. But at this end of Canada, the Liberals insist on hyper-respect for every law, regulation, concept, process and social notion that might possibly be used to delay a pipeline.

SNC-Lavalin is a Quebec-based company accused of fraud and bribery while doing business in Libya.

Essentially, it’s charged with engaging in corrupt behaviour abroad that it would not employ at home.

As the past couple of weeks have shown, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his officials will tie themselves in knots to get that company off the hook.

A criminal conviction would ban the company from bidding on Canadian projects for 10 years.

On Monday, the Globe and Mail reported that officials are now writing rules to allow “flexibility” in the length of a bidding ban.

Two senior officials of the company recently escaped criminal charges because judges ruled that prosecutors took too long to bring the cases to trial.

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was unhappy with what she evidently considered undue pressure to drop prosecution. She resigned and will soon appear before a committee.

Now, consider the handling of Trans Mountain by these same people.

The bedraggled project, far more important economically than any possible benefit from SNC-Lavalin, has been subject to endless public scrutiny.

The first proponent, Kinder Morgan, complied with every regulatory demand, completed extensive public consultations and negotiations — including dozens of financial benefit agreements with communities and First Nations — and has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The project won 17 straight court challenges against other Indigenous groups, activists, and the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver.

But the obstruction played out for so long that the company left Canada, selling the project to Ottawa for $4.5 billion.

Construction began. Then, last Aug. 30, Trans Mountain ran into three Federal Court of Appeal judges who decided the permit was invalid.

The decision was not hostile to the pipeline itself. It was mainly critical of some consultation and environmental issues involving killer whales.

At that crucial moment, Ottawa might have applied some SNCLavalin-style vigour to the ruling.

Without any secretive actions, Ottawa could have appealed, ordered construction to continue, worked to fulfil the court’s demands and contested every application for an injunction.

The Liberals could also have passed a federal law enabling the pipeline. That was actually promised at one point.

But the pledge sank without a bubble in the toxically conflicted cabinet.

Last Friday, the National Energy Board approved the project for the second time, adding 16 recommendations to its long list of previous conditions.

That might have been the moment for Trudeau himself to promise quick cabinet approval.

But no, there’s not even a commitment to issue a new permit within cabinet’s 90-day guideline.

And all along, the Liberals have been busy erecting more legal barriers to energy and resource projects.

The best single article on this national disaster comes from former Globe and Mail columnist Geoffrey Simpson, who recently wrote a long study for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

It details the impediments the Liberals have created, from giving the environment minister undue control over energy and resources, to inferring veto powers for groups that will never agree to a project under any conditions and inventing extra-legal concepts like “social licence.”

Two bills — C-69 and C-48 — are now close to passage. The first would regulate new projects into oblivion. The second would prohibit Alberta products (not B.C. natural gas) from shipping by tanker off B.C.’s northern coast.

Absurdly, the Senate dominated by Ontario and Quebec is the last line of defence against these atrocious bills.

Counting the cost of delays and diversions so far, the C.D. Howe Institute estimates the loss in investment at $100 billion in 2017-18 alone.

Along the way, the Liberals have virtually ceded a key power that holds Canada together, federal control over interprovincial shipping.

At the same time, their bills would severely dilute provincial ownership and development of natural resources.

Such is the discriminatory regime the Liberals are creating for Western Canada’s resources. You can be sure they will enforce every nuance.

For SNC-Lavalin, though, existing law is a malleable thing, uniquely adaptable to partisan Liberal needs.

This double standard goes beyond simply hypocrisy. It’s a destructive message to the whole country about who counts, and who doesn’t.

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Andrew Coyne on Jody Wilson-Raybould: Damning testimony from a principled witness

Either Wilson-Raybould is flat out lying about this, or Trudeau and his people are. It is difficult to see why she would. It is easy to see why they might

Jody Wilson-Raybould's full statement on SNC-Lavalin controversy37:47

It was clear from the first line of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony: the Trudeau government is now officially in crisis, the jobs of several of its top officials hanging by a thread.

The former attorney general did not merely offer her “perspective” with regard to the SNC-Lavalin affair, as the prime minister had airily suggested beforehand. She presented damning evidence, based on verbatim texts, contemporaneous notes, and detailed personal recollections, of “a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with SNC-Lavalin.”

This was not just inappropriate pressure by this official or that minister. It appears to have been a whole-of-government effort to wear down her resistance, if not intimidate her into submission, involving 11 different people, 10 phone calls, multiple meetings, emails, text messages, the works.

It was not just a one-time event, but continued for months, long after the decision had been made — after the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, had decided against offering SNC-Lavalin a DPA, after Wilson-Raybould had decided against overruling her, indeed even after the matter had become the subject of judicial proceedings, SNC-Lavalin having challenged the DPP’s decision in court.

Neither was the motive for all this pressure confined to high-minded concern for jobs, should SNC-Lavalin move its headquarters from Montreal. It was, from the start, explicitly partisan, with an eye to the impact on both the last Quebec election and the next federal election.

And the longer it went on, the worse it got — what began as importuning ended as not-so-veiled threats, the pretense of staying within the law giving way to open demands that it be set to one side. And, as we know, not long afterward, she was dropped from her post.

What is revealed throughout is an attitude that appears to pervade this government: that the law is not an institution to be revered, but just another obstacle to get around, by whatever means necessary. Her decision, as the duly authorized and independent decision-maker, was likewise, not something to be respected, but merely an opening bid.

It is nothing short of remarkable that, amid what she called this “barrage” of improper pressure, Wilson-Raybould stood her ground. Why didn’t she resign? Thank goodness she didn’t. She appears to have been one of the few people in this government with any principled belief in the rule of law. And in the end she did pay for it with her job, not once but twice.

If there was any doubt about who would be the more credible witness, Wilson-Raybould or the prime minister and his people, that has been dispelled. Where they have depended on vagueness, she was detailed; where they have offered misdirection, she was direct; where they look like people with something to hide, she was forthright.

jody-wilson-raybould-1-6.png?w=590Jody Wilson-Raybould speaks with reporters after testifying in front of the justice committee in Ottawa, Feb. 27, 2019. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

It is not possible to believe any more, if it ever was, that she might have just misinterpreted an innocent remark. Either she is flat out lying about the whole business, or the prime minister and his people are. It is difficult to see why she would. It is easy to see why they might. If there was any notion, likewise, that the bleeding in this government would be cauterized by the resignation of the prime minister’s principal secretary, Gerry Butts.

All manner of people will now have to be heard from under oath, including:

• the finance minister’s chief of staff, Ben Chin. Wilson-Raybould said he was one of the first to lean on her to change her mind with regard to the prosecution. “If they don’t get a DPA,” she says he told her chief of staff, Jessica Prince, “they will leave Montreal, and it’s the Quebec election right now, so we can’t have that happen.”

• the finance minister, Bill Morneau. After repeated interventions from Chin and other members of his staff Wilson-Raybould asked him to call off his dogs. He did not.

• Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office. “We can have the best policy in the world,” she says Bouchard told Prince, “but we need to be re-elected.”

• the prime minister’s chief of staff, Katie Telford. Prince reported that at a Dec. 18 meeting, Telford pressed her to find a “solution,” commenting that “we don’t want to debate legalities anymore.”

• Butts. At the same meeting, Butts allegedly told her: “Jess, there is no solution here that doesn’t involve some interference.”

• Michael Wernick, the clerk of the privy council. Though he is the head of the non-partisan civil service, Wernick’s conduct, by Wilson-Raybould’s account, would appear to have been disturbingly political, not to say improper, from his unsolicited advice, at the Sept. 17 meeting with the prime minister, that “there is an election in Quebec soon” — a concern echoed by the PM — to his warning, in the Dec. 19 phone call that spurred thoughts in her of the Watergate-era “Saturday Night Massacre,” that the PM “is gonna find a way to get it done one way or another,” that he was “a bit worried” and that it was “not good for the prime minister and his attorney general to be at ‘loggerheads’.”

There is much more still to be addressed, issues she is not yet at liberty to talk about, notably what discussions she has had with the prime minister since she was shuffled out of the Justice, or why she later resigned from cabinet.

For now it is useful to be reminded of the power an individual of conscience can wield. Wilson-Raybould is one person, facing the whole might of the government of Canada, and it isn’t even close.  Her reading notes can be read at:

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Canada's Trudeau dismisses ex-minister's allegations of inappropriate pressure



Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the interim House of Commons in the West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, facing the biggest crisis of his tenure, disputed testimony on Wednesday from his former justice minister that government officials inappropriately pressured her to help a major firm avoid a corruption trial.

The allegations by Jody Wilson-Raybould prompted the leader of Canada’s main opposition party to insist that Trudeau quit just months ahead of an October federal election.


Wilson-Raybould told the House of Commons justice committee that she had confronted Trudeau over what she said were persistent efforts by officials to help construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc evade trial on charges of bribing Libyan officials.

“I strongly maintain, as I have from the beginning, that I and my staff always acted appropriately and professionally,” Trudeau told a televised news conference in Montreal.

“I therefore completely disagree with (Wilson-Raybould’s) characterization of events,” he continued, brushing off a demand from Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer that he resign.

Wilson-Raybould said officials imposed “consistent and sustained pressure” on her from September to December last year to ensure SNC-Lavalin pay a large fine rather than go to trial.

“In my view, these events constituted pressure to intervene in a matter and that this pressure, or political interference to intervene, was not appropriate,” she told the committee.

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Trudeau completely disagrees with Wilson-Raybould’s characterization of SNC-Lavalin.  In other words she experienced it differently......:head:

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“But in the end, the moral collapse of Justin Trudeau’s government teaches each of us a lesson, if we will only listen: There had damned well better be a limit to what we’re willing to do or say, whatever the cause we claim to serve. The rules need to be rules—not for the people we despise, but for ourselves. For myself. For you. Or else we have no souls.”

The moral catastrophe of Justin Trudeau

Paul Wells: What Jody Wilson-Raybould described today is a sickeningly smug protection racket and it should make us all question what we’re willing to tolerate.

The dangerous files are never the obscure ones. Scandals don’t happen in the weird little corners of government, in amateur sport or in crop science. They happen on the issues a prime minister cares most about, because everyone gets the message that the rules matter less than the result.

It’s a constant in politics. In 2016 I took one look at Bill Morneau’s first budget and wrote this: “The sponsorship scandal of the late Chrétien years was possible because it was obvious to every scoundrel with Liberal friends that spending on national unity would not receive close scrutiny from a government that was desperate to be seen doing something on the file. A government that considers the scale of its spending to be proof of its virtue is an easy mark for hucksters and worse.”

It wasn’t a perfect prediction. I kind of expected the hucksters and worse to be outsidegovernment. Unless the Trudeau Liberals can produce persuasive evidence that Jody Wilson-Raybould is an utter fabulist (and frankly, I now expect several to try), her testimony before the Commons Justice Committee establishes pretty clearly that the hucksters and worse were running the show. Led by the grinning legatee who taints the Prime Ministers’ office.

READ MORE: Wilson-Raybould’s opening statement: Full transcript

There will now be a period of stark partisanship. We’re in an election year. Loyal Liberals will tell themselves, and then everyone else, that the price of looking clearly at Justin Trudeau’s bully club (so many men; wonder how Katie Telford felt about that while she was signing off on every element of it) is ceding the field to Andrew Scheer. Who, they will tell themselves and then the country, is an actual Nazi.

I mean, after all, that’s pretty close to what they told one another, and then Jody Wilson-Raybould, last fall, isn’t it? There was an election in Quebec in the first week of October. And Ben Chin, a former journalist who did whatever Christy Clark needed done in B.C. before moving east to do whatever Bill Morneau and the PMO needed doing, used that thin reed of an excuse to try to sway Wilson-Raybould’s chief of staff, Jessica Prince. “If they don’t get a [deferred prosecution agreement], they will leave Montreal, and it’s the Quebec election right now, so we can’t have that happen,” Wilson-Raybould told the committee, paraphrasing Chin’s conversation with Prince.

I’ve never met a Liberal yet who doesn’t reliably confuse his electoral skin with the national interest. So much of what Trudeau and his minions have done in the last year stems from that instinct. Take the ludicrous half-billion-dollar bailout for people in my line of work, never explained, sprung out of nowhere in Morneau’s fall economic update—or as I now like to think of it, between Trudeau advisor Mathieu Bouchard’s meeting (yet another one) with Prince and Michael Wernick’s chat with Wilson-Raybould. You can get a lot of op-eds written with that kind of dough. Take the cool billion the Canada Infrastructure Bank coughed up to pay for a politically popular and impeccably well-connected transit project around Montreal. That money appeared, from a brand-new bank that has not funded a single other project and did not then yet have a CEO, on the day before Philippe Couillard launched the Quebec election campaign. It is now impossible to believe on faith that the Canada Infrastructure Bank is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ben Chin, Mathieu Bouchard, Katie Telford and Justin Trudeau.


But anyway, back to partisanship. Liberals and their many friends across the land will insist that all this behaviour must have no real-world repercussions because the other side cannot be permitted to gain the upper hand. And similarly, a lot of battle-hardened opponents of the Liberals will call for the jails to be opened up to welcome fresh Liberal meat. Fortunately, there is indeed an election coming up, and I’m content to let voters decide the partisan affiliation of the next government. I offer them no counsel.

But we get to draw our own conclusions as citizens. What the former attorney general described tonight is a sickeningly smug protection racket whose participants must have been astonished when she refused to play along. If a company can rewrite the Criminal Code to get out of a trial whose start date was set before the legislation was drafted, all because a doomed Quebec government has its appointment with the voter, then which excesses are not permitted, under the same justification? If a Clerk of the Privy Council can claim with a straight face that ten calls and meetings with the attorney general, during which massive job loss, an angry PM and a lost election are threatened, don’t constitute interference, then what on earth would interference look like? Tonight I talked with two former public servants whose records rival Michael Wernick’s. Both were flat astonished that he seems not to have pushed back against this deeply disturbing, and plainly widespread, behaviour.

There’ll be time to contemplate mechanisms in the days ahead. I don’t think the ethics commissioner has a broad enough mandate to investigate matters like that Canada Infrastructure Bank investment and other tendrils of this affair. But in the end, the moral collapse of Justin Trudeau’s government teaches each of us a lesson, if we will only listen: There had damned well better be a limit to what we’re willing to do or say, whatever the cause we claim to serve. The rules need to be rules—not for the people we despise, but for ourselves. For myself. For you. Or else we have no souls.

Edited by Jaydee

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SNC-Lavalin: Trudeau denies wrongdoing in corruption case

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the mediaImage copyright AFP Image caption Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under pressure for his handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denied wrongdoing after he tried to shield one of the country's biggest firms from a corruption trial.

Mr Trudeau said any lobbying by him or his inner circle for engineering giant SNC-Lavalin was done to protect jobs.

In explosive testimony, ex-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she faced "sustained" pressure to abandon prosecution of the Quebec-based firm.

Opposition Conservatives are calling on Mr Trudeau to resign.

They are also demanding a public inquiry following Ms Wilson-Raybould's testimony on Wednesday before the Commons justice committee in Ottawa.


Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, Mr Trudeau said he disagreed with her "characterisation" of events and maintained his staff followed the rules.

Speaking to journalists in Montreal on Thursday, the prime minster said he had full confidence in an inquiry by a parliamentary justice committee into the affair and in an investigation by the federal ethics commissioner, and would "participate fully" in that process.

Ms Wilson-Raybould told the justice committee on Wednesday she faced had attempts at interference and "veiled threats" from top government officials seeking a legal favour for the Montreal construction firm.

The former justice minister and attorney general said she and her staff faced four months of a "sustained" and "inappropriate effort" to push for a possible deferred prosecution agreement for the construction company.

That agreement would have allowed the firm to avoid a criminal trial and instead agree to alternative terms or conditions, like penalties or enhanced compliance measures.

SNC-Lavalin is one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies and employs some 9,000 people in Canada.

A conviction on fraud and corruption charges could result in a decade-long ban on bidding on federal contracts, which would be a major financial hit for the firm.

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“ Three contractors are bidding to repair a fence at the Parliament Buildings.One is from Montreal, another is from Winnipeg and the third is from Vancouver.
All three go with a public works official to examine the fence.
The Vancouver contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil ."Well," he says, "I figure the job will run about $9,000. That's $4,000 for materials, $4,000 for my crew and $1,000 profit for me."

The Winnipeg contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, "I can do this job for $7,000.
That's $3,000 for materials, $3,000 for my crew and $1,000 profit for me."

The Montreal contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the government official and whispers, "$27,000."
The official, incredulous, says, "You didn't even measure like the other guys. How did you come up with such a high figure?”"The Montreal contractor whispers back, "$10,000 for me, $10,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Winnipeg to repair the fence.""Done!" replies the government official.

And that, my friends, is how Government contracts work for SNC Lavalin...”


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I'm guessing that wouldn't happen anymore....Liberals have determined that fences (especially if you call them walls) don't work and are inherently racist.

In the process of terminating this contract they will take credit for eliminating corruption, fighting racism and saving taxpayer money. Any security problems that arise as a result can be blamed on their Conservative predecessors.   

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Legault says Quebec government already talking to SNC-Lavalin about how to save endangered jobs

‎Today, ‎February ‎28, ‎2019, ‏‎53 minutes ago | The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he’s concerned about potential job losses at SNC-Lavalin, a day after claims by Canada’s former attorney general that she was pressured to intervene in the file.

Legault says he doesn’t know whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau placed undue pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene to help the Quebec-based engineering giant avoid criminal corruption charges.

But Legault said today that a lengthy criminal trial for SNC-Lavalin, and the 10-year ban on bidding for federal contracts that would result from a conviction, could lead to the loss of many good jobs in Quebec.

He told reporters in Quebec City that his government is already in discussion with SNC-Lavalin’s president and Quebec’s pension fund manager on how to save those positions.

On Wednesday, Wilson-Raybould detailed what she described as a relentless campaign from Trudeau, his senior staff, the top public servant and the finance minister’s office, to have her direct prosecutors to reach a “remediation agreement” with the company so it could avoid trial.

Quebec Justice Minister Sonia LeBel said today that Wilson-Raybould’s allegations, if true, are worrying.

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How Quebec is reacting to Jody Wilson-Raybould’s bombshell: ‘Nobody is a friend of Trudeau’

Wrote one columnist, if Quebecers continue supporting Trudeau, in spite of this attack on judicial independence, 'we are imbeciles'

trudeau_2.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=604Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media in Montreal on Feb. 27, 2019.Ryan Remiorz/CP

OTTAWA — After weeks of sympathizing with his plight to save SNC-Lavalin from the potential penalties of criminal prosecution, Quebec’s pundit classes have now concluded that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau crossed the line in his dealings with former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

In the hours after Wilson-Raybould’s scathing testimony at a Commons justice committee Wednesday evening, commentary emanating from the home province of the embattled engineering firm, which is being prosecuted for corruption, took on a harsher tone. Chantal Hébert, a Montreal-based columnist for the Toronto Star and L’actualité, put it this way on a Radio-Canada morning radio show Thursday: After a review of the newspapers, she said in French, “nobody is a friend of Trudeau this morning.”

Quebecers could think that Wilson-Raybould had made an error in judgment by deciding not to pursue a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin, in light of thousands of jobs that could be put at risk if a conviction resulted in a ban on bidding for public contracts. But they could at the same time agree that it was deeply inappropriate for the prime minister to spend four months trying to twist her arm after a decision had been made, Hébert argued.

The committee testimony was front page news for the likes of Le Devoir and the Journal de Montreal. But at midday you had to scroll down to find stories about Wilson-Raybould on the websites of most Quebec-based media outlets.

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Justin Trudeau, my how you’ve changed

Andrew MacDougall: Justin Trudeau looks like the un-smart, un-serious man that so many of his political opponents have always insisted he is.

by Andrew MacDougall

Feb 28, 2019


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that Canada will take part in an international lunar space station project at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters Thursday, February 28, 2019 in St. Hubert, Que. (Ryan Remiorz/CP) 


Imagine you’re Justin Trudeau.

The SNC-Lavalin scandal has been battering your government for weeks. Your story keeps shifting. The usually docile media aren’t letting it rest. Even a thousand coordinated tweets about the positive impact of the Canada Child Benefit can’t change the channel.

On the contrary, l’affair SNC—now christened LavScam—is picking up steam.

You’ve been forced to accept the resignation of your good friend and top advisor, Gerry Butts, who showed himself the door despite doing absolutely nothing wrong on SNC. Your boy Buttsy jumped on the SNC grenade to spare others the damage.

Only Butts missed the grenade. Completely.

Even worse, Jody Wilson-Raybould—i.e. the grenade-launcher—is now before the Justice Committee. She’s (relatively) free to speak and she is letting loose. And now the shrapnel is everywhere, and everyone is bleeding.

READ MORE: Jody Wilson-Raybould’s opening statement at justice committee: Full transcript


You’re bleeding. Your chief of staff is bleeding. Your Quebec advisor is bleeding. Your policy guy is bleeding. Your big-spending, do-nothing finance minister is bleeding. Your finance minister’s chief of staff is bleeding. And the “non-partisan” clerk of the Privy Council—i.e. your own personal pick for the post? Well, Michael Wernick is soiled. Comprehensively soiled. And bleeding.

It’s riveting testimony. The media are typing as if their lives depend on it. The cable guys are running the full hearing. And ordinary people are watching, because it’s not every day you see a member of a government strafe its leadership. Strafe you.

Only strafe isn’t the word. It’s more of a shiv. There is no emotion or hysteria. There is ice in Jody Wilson-Raybould’s veins and a steely determination as she coolly, calmly and credibly outlines the myriad ways your political and bureaucratic apparatus attempted to impress upon her independent mind the need to have another think on SNC, despite her repeated attempts to everyone—including you—that her thinking on the matter was all done.

You’re watching this all go down, and it is devastating. Your government is in peril. You’re in peril. You’re staring a return to your career of part-time drama teaching right in the face.

RELATED: Paul Wells: The moral catastrophe of Justin Trudeau

And so you decide it’s time to fight back. Because the cast of fifth-rate clowns you sent to fill the Liberal seats at the justice committee certainly didn’t do any fighting back. They not only missed the grenades, they picked them up, played with them, and then didn’t even realize when they went off in their faces.

But that’s all right. You’re Justin Trudeau. Mr. Sunny Ways. Mr. Hope and Hard Work. You got this. So you wheel yourself out to ‘push back’ against Wilson-Raybould’s allegations.

Only you don’t push back.

You don’t counter Wilson-Raybould’s facts and recollections with any of your own. You don’t dispute what was said, even about your alleged direct personal involvement, other than to say you disagree with Wilson-Raybould’s “characterization” of events.

And it stinks.

It stinks as you moan about a difficult couple of weeks because of “internal disagreements.” It stinks as you reference your success in making it easier to die, and your success in making it easier to get high. It stinks as you talk about your job being to stand up for jobs and pensions, to stand up for Canadians, and for Canadian workers, and all in an overly dramatic tone that suggests that no other prime minister has ever had that in their job description. It stinks as you speak about anything other than what Canadians need to hear from you.

READ MORE: How many times did Jody Wilson-Raybould need to say ‘No’?

And you say all of this nothing in front of a carefully crafted human backdrop meant to demonstrate your love of youth and diversity. Except the youth look like they’re in a hostage video (they are). Your human backdrop even includes your new MP, Rachel Bendayan, who is standing over your shoulder tonight playing the role of Huma Abedin while you step all over your wiener.

There isn’t a hint of contrition, or even a speck of responsibility for letting things get this far. No acknowledgment that Wilson-Raybould has laid out a set of serious charges that require serious answers. Your focus remains political.

When you’re asked about Andrew Scheer’s call for your resignation over the seriousness of these allegations, you mumble something about Stephen Harper being a bad man and this coming election being about a choice, blithely assuming you’ll still be in function to see it out. And when you’re asked about Wilson-Raybould remaining in the Liberal caucus, you say you will have to review her full testimony—testimony you have already dismissed, by the way—before deciding her fate, when it really should be the other way around.

You tell Canadians—in that sanctimonious and overly serious tone you adopt when you’re under the cosh—who have watched Wilson-Raybould rattle their confidence in Canada’s institutions to now have confidence in the ethics commissioner, an office that has already found you guilty of breaking another law, but isn’t equipped to investigate the allegations unfurled by Wilson-Raybould. And while you’re busy doing that, you have your office tell media that nobody else will be resigning based on Wilson-Raybould’s testimony.

RELATED: Gerald Butts: If thy right hand offend thee, pluck it out

In other words, every move you make tonight makes you look like the un-smart, un-serious man that so many of your political opponents have always insisted you are.

But you can’t let that worry you.

Your only bet now is that you being you will be enough to see you through. If there is enough talk about evil Tories, or lost jobs, or Liberal values, then Canadians might just go back to sleep and wake up thinking you’re that wonderful man who promised to change everything in 2015.

Things have certainly changed. And you’ve changed, Justin Trudeau. My how you’ve changed.

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The World is watching and judging.

Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould: The scandal that could unseat Canada's PM

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A simmering political scandal involving Justin Trudeau and his ex-attorney general came to the boil dramatically this week.

Now, people are calling on him to resign.

Here's what you need to know.

In a nutshell

Mr Trudeau has been accused of pressuring his former attorney general to cut a deal with a company facing corruption charges - and retaliating when she refused to play ball.

The revelations could cost Trudeau the October general election, some pundits say.


The former AG says Trudeau and his staff spent months trying to convince her that taking the company to trial would cost Canadians jobs, and their party votes.

She also says she was subject to "veiled threats", which she believes were made good when she was shuffled out of her department.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Canadian justice minister, is surrounded by journalistsImage copyright Reuters Image caption Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Canadian justice minister, speaks about the SNC-Lavalin affair

Who are the players?

The spurned ex-minister: Jody Wilson-Raybould was Canada's attorney general and justice minister. Unlike in the UK and US, the two roles are held by the same person.

She was also Canada's first indigenous justice minister and worked on a number of pieces of landmark legislation, including legalising cannabis and assisted dying.

In January, she was shuffled from the justice department to the department of veteran's affairs - a move many saw as a demotion.

The corporation: SNC-Lavalin is one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies.

The company faces fraud and corruption charges in relation to approximately C$48m ($36m; £28m) in bribes it is alleged to have offered to Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011, when Muammar Gaddafi was in power.

The firm has openly lobbied to be allowed to enter into a remediation agreement instead of going to trial, saying it has cleaned house and changed its ways.

The PM: Justin Trudeau is Canada's prime minister. He won a majority government in 2014 on a platform of transparency, gender equality and a commitment to reconciliation with Canada's indigenous peoples.

He faces a federal election in October 2019.

Jody Wilson-Raybould poses with Prime Minister Justin TrudeauImage copyright Reuters Image caption Jody Wilson-Raybould, seen here with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has so far declined to comment

Why would Trudeau care about SNC-Lavalin?

SNC-Lavalin is based in Quebec, a swing province that has long been viewed as essential ground for the Liberal Party to win during an election - which is coming up in October.

When the Liberals win Quebec, they often win a majority of seats in parliament. When they lose, they lose badly.

At the time that Wilson-Raybould says she was being pressured to cut a deal, Quebec was also in the middle of a heated provincial election that eventually led to the ousting of Quebec Liberal premier Philippe Couillard.

Wilson-Raybould says the federal Liberal Party kept raising the Quebec election as one of the reasons why she should consider cutting a deal with SNC-Lavalin.

What does Trudeau say?

Trudeau has denied wrongdoing and says any lobbying by him or his inner circle for engineering giant SNC-Lavalin was done to protect jobs.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, Mr Trudeau said he disagreed with her "characterisation" of events and maintained his staff followed the rules.

What could the fallout be?

Trudeau's longtime friend and principal secretary Gerald Butts has already resigned.

Many speculate that other top officials that Wilson-Raybould named may follow.

Canada's ethics commissioner is investigating Wilson-Raybould's accusations to see if any conflict-of-interest rules were broken. For her part, Wilson-Raybould says she believes no laws were broken, but that the prime minister's office acted improperly.

But the real question is what this could mean for Trudeau and his election in the fall.

Conservative leader of the opposition Andrew Scheer has already called for Trudeau's resignation, saying he no longer has the "moral authority" to lead.

That seems unlikely, but what is likely - at least according to columnist Chantal Hebert and other political pundits - is that "the Liberals will likely go in the fall election campaign with the SNC-Lavalin albatross still hanging around their party's neck".

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'We stand behind you 100%': Female First Nations leaders voice support for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Female chiefs and First Nations leaders from across B.C. are voicing their support for former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould after her testimony before the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday.

Women at Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs meeting send message of support

Chantelle Bellrichard · CBC News · Posted: Feb 28, 2019 6:38 PM ET | Last Updated: 34 minutes ago
A group of First Nations women rallied at a Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs meeting in Vancouver Thursday to send a message of support to former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC )

Female chiefs and First Nations leaders from across B.C. are voicing their support for former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould after her testimony before the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday.

On Thursday, a group of 21 women attending a Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs meeting in Vancouver, including elected and hereditary chiefs, gathered to send a collective message to Wilson-Raybould.

"We stand behind you 100 per cent. Jody, you are from here and you are part of us and we fully support you and I think what you did yesterday was brave," said Cheryl Casimer, a Ktunaxa woman and member of the First Nations Summit executive.

"When she spoke, particularly her comment at the end about coming from a long line of matriarchs and that she was going to continue to be who she is, I think that's the statement that's going to go down in history."

In her highly anticipated testimony on Wednesday, Wilson-Raybould recounted what she described as a well-orchestrated campaign by senior members of the Prime Minister's Office to pressure her to reach an agreement with SNC-Lavalin to help the engineering firm avoid criminal prosecution.

She told the committee that she believes the sustained pressure was inappropriate and amounted to "political interference" but that it wasn't illegal.

'I was so proud'

As Wilson-Raybould took her seat before the committee in Ottawa Wednesday, First Nations leaders from around B.C. were sitting in the Musqueam community centre, gathered for a Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs meeting. After their break for lunch they delayed further agenda items to watch Wilson-Raybould begin her opening statement.


Many of those in the room would be familiar faces to the Vancouver Granville MP, including relatives from her Kwakwaka'wakw nation and people she would have worked with during her time with the B.C. Treaty Commission and as regional chief with the Assembly of First Nations.

"I watched the testimony yesterday and I was so proud," said Elaine Alec, the women's representative for the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

Alec said she was particularly proud of how Wilson-Raybould testified on her own terms, setting an example for other women in leadership.

The lights were dimmed and meetings put on hold briefly on Wednesday at a Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs meeting so people could watch part of Wilson-Raybould's testimony. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

"They give you five minutes, you let them know you're going to have 30," said Alec, in reference to Wilson-Raybould's request for an extended period of time to make her opening statement.

Looking forward, women at the union meeting said they will be watching for what other information comes out around the SNC-Lavalin matter, and for the way the prime minister and members of the Liberal government treat Wilson-Raybould.

"I believe Trudeau has a lot of questions to answer," said Kukpi7 Judy Wilson.

She was among the people who stayed late after the meeting on Wednesday to watch Trudeau's public response to Wilson-Raybould's testimony in which he said he did not agree with the account of events as described by the former attorney general. 


But for the women speaking in support of Wilson-Raybould, they've made up their mind about whose version of events they believe.

"Jody is not a politician, she's a leader — there's a big difference," said Casimer.

"What I expect is that she be treated with the grace and dignity that she's afforded."

Before meetings resumed Thursday following the lunch break, the women gathered and sang the women's warrior song.

Bob Chamberlin, vice-president of UBCIC, rallied people to send a video message to Wilson-Raybould.


"Puglaas rocks, Puglaas rocks," they shouted, a reference to Wilson-Raybould's Kwak'wala name, which translates to "woman born to noble people" in English.


About the Author


Chantelle Bellrichard


Chantelle Bellrichard is a reporter with CBC's Indigenous unit based in Vancouver. Email her at or follow her on Twitter @pieglue.

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Where are all the Liberal Supporters or should I say "Trudeau Supporters" on this forum?

John Ivison: Trudeau needs the magic of doubt and persuasion to defuse SNC-Lavalin scandal

There is a genuine belief in Liberal ranks that Wilson-Raybould told the truth, but not the whole truth. They are going to have a tough time convincing Canadians

Contrary to what you might have read in all newspapers, the country is not going to the dogs — it’s going to the moon.

We are assured that Justin Trudeau did not arrange for Canada to join the U.S.-led lunar mission just to deflect attention from Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony at the justice committee. But the prime minister must have been mightily relieved to look at his itinerary for Thursday and see that it included the announcement at the Canada Space Agency headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Que., rather than answering questions about prosecutorial interference in the House of Commons.

In Saint-Hubert, he was asked about the SNC-Lavalin scandal and reiterated that his team acted professionally and appropriately. He said he disagreed with the former attorney general’s “characterization” of events.

Among Liberals Thursday there was a palpable sense of relief, such as might be felt by someone who’s just had hip replacement surgery — it’s still painful but there is a feeling the worst is over.

They’re probably right. Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader, has over-reached by calling for Trudeau’s resignation — that’s not going to happen, as long as he maintains he and his staff acted appropriately, and Liberal polling numbers remain in the 30-40 per cent support range.

The only way he is forced out is if there is a split in Liberal ranks and that is not happening.

On the contrary, most Liberal MPs sound angry at Wilson-Raybould for putting their jobs at risk. Politics is a team sport, they argue, and she should have done what she was told by the leader at whose pleasure she served, or she should have resigned.

That will not be a popular view in the country, or one that MPs will express publicly, but it is held widely.

There is a sense in caucus that the prime minister is reaping the whirlwind after appointing as justice minister someone who was not a partisan Liberal.

But far from sending out her colleagues to besmirch Wilson-Raybould’s reputation, the Prime Minister’s Office is trying to rein in caucus anger and stop a repeat of the public haranguing directed at the former attorney general by B.C. Liberal MP Jati Sidhu. He told the Abbotsford News that Wilson-Raybould is not a team player and suggested her father may be “pulling the strings.” He later apologized for  his comments but he is far from alone in thinking them.

In the absence of a caucus revolt, Trudeau should be able to ride out the storm. There is even anticipation in Liberal ranks at the prospect of being able to comment freely, now that Wilson-Raybould’s allegations are out in the open.

Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s former principal secretary, who is alleged by Wilson-Raybould to have told her former chief of staff that any solution “involves some interference,” wrote to the justice committee chair, Anthony Housefather, requesting an opportunity to give his side of the story.

justin-trudeau-1-5.png?w=590Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to high school students at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters, Feb. 28, 2019 in St. Hubert, Quebec. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The committee will also hear again from Michael Wernick, clerk of the Privy Council, and Nathalie Drouin, the deputy minister of Justice.

There is a genuine belief in Liberal ranks that, while Wilson-Raybould has told the truth, it is not the whole truth, and does not reflect the intent of the range of actors who were motivated by a desire to protect jobs at SNC.

They are going to have their work cut out for them convincing Canadians who appear to sympathize with the former attorney general’s viewpoint that the persistent and relentless nature of the attempts to make her change her mind over whether to offer SNC a deferred prosecution agreement was inappropriate.

They are going to have to be persuasive if they are planning to argue that the attorney general was not removed from her cabinet post because of a position she took and refused to change.

And they are going to have to make a compelling case if they are going to refute Wilson-Raybould’s allegation that, after she was shuffled, her former deputy minister at Justice was told by the clerk of the Privy Council that her replacement could expect to have an early conversation with the prime minister about SNC.

Yet, if they can place doubt in the minds of the jury, the Liberals will probably have done enough.

The SNC-Lavalin affair reduces the chances of the Liberals repeating their majority government feat of 2015. But are we going to see voters entering the polling booth in October vowing to defeat Trudeau because he may have applied undue pressure on one of his own ministers and breached the Shawcross doctrine? Unfortunately for the voters who would like to give Trudeau a one-way ticket to the moon, those people probably don’t exist in sufficient numbers to bring down a government.

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19 minutes ago, Fido said:

Has he really left?

Probably a will he survive with out his BUTTS buddy ?

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24 minutes ago, Jaydee said:

Probably a will he survive with out his BUTTS buddy ?

Probably not too bad as he did not do very well lately. 😀  I wonder if folks are lining up to be his spokesperson or ??????  🙃  And then of course , is job with the UN   maybe his bailout? He has certainly spent a great deal of our money in pursuit of their approval.


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‎Today, ‎February ‎28, ‎2019, ‏‎8 minutes ago

Christie Blatchford: Why all this effort by the Liberal government on behalf of SNC?

‎Today, ‎February ‎28, ‎2019, ‏‎18 minutes ago | Christie Blatchford

As an old criminal court reporter, I have watched dozens and dozens of cross-examinations, and rarely have they not been what the great American jurist John Henry Wigmore said they were: “The greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.”

The deposed Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould was hardly exposed to a court-style cross this week, but make no mistake: She’s come a hell of a lot closer to it than any of the other sorry players in the SNC-Lavalin imbroglio. She emerged whole, and her evidence had the wonderful and unmistakable ring of truth.

At the Justice Committee Wednesday, she was cogent and detailed, with names and dates and some contemporaneously made notes and/or emails and texts to help her already-clear memory. She was thoughtful and responsive to the questions.

Then look at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Liberal house leader Bardish Chagger and all the other Liberal MPs who nod like those bobble-heads you see in the back windows of cars — and with approximately the same intelligence.

Since this scandal broke, the PM has been completely unresponsive to Opposition questions in Question Period (when he has deigned to appear), reciting instead the pap he has force-fed Chagger et al about “always standing up for jobs” while simultaneously “respecting Canadian institutions.”

Even Morneau was reduced to saying this Thursday, before he bolted from a group of reporters.

Among them, the Liberals have said this probably 100 times and I still don’t understand how the Speaker lets them get away with it or what it means — except that what they mean are SNC-Lavalin jobs.

One of the tiny, telling details from Wilson-Raybould’s evidence was how, when making the case for a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) for SNC-Lavalin, Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick brought up the fact that the company had “a board meeting on Thursday with stockholders.”

(This was at a meeting Wilson-Raybould had Sept. 17, 2018 with Wernick and Trudeau, at a point when Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel had already decided not to offer a DPA, and Wilson-Raybould had decided it was not appropriate for her to intervene.)


Even if one accepts that it was A-OK for Trudeau and his minions to badger Wilson-Raybould into changing her mind – and she didn’t, and told the pair of them they were out of line, as indeed they were — why on Earth was Wernick so acutely aware of SNC’s business timelines?

He did it again two days later, at a second meeting Trudeau insisted Wilson-Raybould have with Wernick, mentioning again the upcoming SNC meeting, telling her that its lawyer, Frank Iacobucci (a former Supreme Court judge), was “no shrinking violet” and that he, Wernick, understood SNC was “going back and forth with” Roussel.

Why all this effort on behalf of SNC?

Well, the benign explanation is that DPAs are meant to spare innocent parties – workers, shareholders, pensioners – from paying the price for the corporate malfeasance of a few. Like plea bargains for individuals, DPAs are pragmatic tools for prosecutors.

And SNC-Lavalin, under its current CEO Neil Bruce and previous CEO Robert Card, has made much of how they have changed the corporate culture at the company, brought in a big broom and fired anyone remotely associated with bad behaviour and developed a whole ethical regime.

This is all to the good, if so.

But consider the company’s very checkered past, not all of it so long ago.

In 2016, on the heels of the Charbonneau inquiry into the construction industry in Quebec, SNC-Lavalin entered into a “voluntary reimbursement program” with the Quebec government.

According to Justice Quebec, this was a two-year program “to ensure mainly the recovery of amounts improperly paid as a result of fraud or fraudulent tactics in connection with public contracts.” After paying back the monies owed, “participants could obtain a discharge that protected them from civil proceedings for fraud or fraudulent tactics” in connection with getting a public contract.

In October 2015, SNC-Lavalin reached a settlement with the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) “regarding allegations of sanctionable practices” by a subsidiary of the company in connection with two AfDB-financed projects, one in Uganda, the other in Mozambique.


Jody Wilson-Raybould waits to testify before the House of Commons justice committee on Feb. 27, 2019.

According to the AfDB press release, the agreement “resolves allegations uncontested by the company of illicit payments ordered by former SNC International Inc. employees to public officials in order to secure contracts.”

Under the terms of the agreement, AfDB imposed “a conditional non-debarment (debarring prevents a company getting public contracts) … for a period of two years and 10 months” and repayment of $1.5 million.

The projects dated to October 2008 and December 2010.

More recently, in September 2016, SNC-Lavalin entered into a “compliance agreement” with the Commissioner of Elections Canada for illegal contributions made to federal political entities between March 9, 2004 and May 1, 2011.

According to the agreement on the Commissioner’s website, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. reimbursed $117,803.49 for illegal contributions, almost all of which had gone to the Liberal Party of Canada, various Liberal riding associations and contestants in the Liberal Party’s 2006 leadership race. The rest, $8,200, was tossed the way of the Conservative Party. (The company was reimbursing employees for contributions it had wanted them to make.)

And, of course, there’s the World Bank disbarment of SNC-Lavalin, and 100 affiliates, for a period of 10 years.


That happened in April 2013, and, according to the World Bank press release, it was related to the company’s “misconduct in relation to the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project in Bangladesh,” as well as unspecified misconduct in relation to another World Bank-financed Rural Electrification and Transmission project in Cambodia.

None of that much mattered when it came to giving SNC-Lavalin a pass.

In December 2015, less than two months after the Liberals came to power, SNC signed an “administrative agreement” with the federal government, allowing it to bid and win work despite the criminal charges still pending.

These fraud and bribery charges date back to 2000-2011, for its alleged $48-million worth of bribery in Libya, which are now in different ways before two Canadian courts.

As of Thursday, according to the Public Services and Procurement website, SNC-Lavalin is the only supplier in the country with such an agreement.

Just how stupid do the Liberals think Canadians are?

• Email: | Twitter: blatchkiki

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Trudeau’s former top advisor Gerald Butts to testify at justice committee hearing on SNC-Lavalin scandal

‎Today, ‎February ‎28, ‎2019, ‏‎26 minutes ago | Brian Platt

OTTAWA — Gerald Butts, the former right-hand man to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will publicly defend himself against allegations he attempted to interfere in the SNC-Lavalin prosecution.

Butts wrote to the House of Commons justice committee on Thursday asking for a chance to speak.

“I watched the testimony of the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould yesterday,” Butts’s letter said. “I believe my testimony will be of assistance to the (committee) in its consideration of these matters. I respectfully request the opportunity to attend the committee. I need a short period of time to receive legal advice concerning my evidence and to be able to produce relevant documents to the committee.”

Butts, one of Trudeau’s closest friends going back decades, resigned as the prime minister’s principal secretary on Feb. 18, saying he felt it was the right thing to do to defend himself and allow the government to continue its work undistracted.

He is among nearly a dozen people including Trudeau, the finance minister and the country’s top civil servant who Wilson-Raybould said pressured her in the fall of 2018 to drop the corruption case against SNC-Lavalin and negotiate a remediation agreement instead. Remediation agreements see a company admit wrongdoing and pay a fine but avoid a criminal conviction.

In her testimony before the justice committee on Wednesday, Wilson-Raybould alleged that she was subjected to “veiled threats” and a four-month “sustained effort by many people in the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”

She described a Sept. 17 meeting with Trudeau during which she said he told her “there is an election in Quebec and that ‘I am an MP in Quebec — the member for Papineau.”

“I was quite taken aback,” she testified. “My response, and I remember this vividly, was to ask (Trudeau) a direct question while looking him in the eye. I asked: ‘Are you politically interfering with my role, my decision as the AG? I would strongly advise against it.’ The prime minister said ‘No, No, No — we just need to find a solution.'”

Speaking to the media in Saint-Hubert, Que., on Thursday morning, Trudeau said he did not agree with Wilson-Raybould’s version of events, and said he’s still reflecting about whether she will remain within the Liberal caucus.

“I and my team always acted in an appropriate and professional manner,” Trudeau said. “So I am not in agreement with the characterization of events that the former attorney general gave in her testimony. We have always defended and looked to protect jobs in Canada and we will always do so.”


Gerald Butts, then-principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaks to Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford in July 2018. Butts will appear before the House of Commons justice committee, Telford will not.

Trudeau said the RCMP has not contacted him or other government officials about the affair, to his knowledge. On Thursday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer wrote to the head of the RCMP to launch an investigation, contending that the Liberals broke laws under the Criminal Code related to obstructing justice and interfering with the attorney general. He also repeated calls for Trudeau to step down.

Asked who was telling the truth, Trudeau said the government’s ethics commissioner is investigating and will come to a conclusion. Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion started his investigation two weeks ago.

Speaking in Toronto on Thursday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau defended his own role in conversations with Wilson-Raybould. “I never raised this issue with Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould,” he told reporters. “She approached me to tell me that my staff was approaching her staff, which I think is entirely appropriate.”

Wilson-Raybould testified that she asked Morneau to tell his staff to stop raising the issue of a remediation agreement for SNC-Lavalin with her office, but his chief of staff Ben Chin continued to do so.

“My staff, appropriately, would make her staff aware of the economic consequences of decisions, about the importance of thinking about jobs,” Morneau said. He said he did not watch her testimony live because he was in a meeting, but said she is “entitled to her opinion.”

The Liberal-dominated justice committee has asked Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick and Deputy Justice Minister Nathalie Drouin to reappear following their testimony last week. They and Butts will likely testify on March 6.

The committee has declined to hear from other key players in the scandal, including Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford and Wilson-Raybould’s former chief of staff Jessica Prince.

Wilson-Raybould told the committee about two meetings involving Butts. On Dec. 5, 2018, she met him at the Chateau Laurier hotel. She testified that Butts “took over the conversation and said how we need a solution on the SNC stuff.” She alleged he told her that the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, which separated the prosecution service from the Justice Department, “was set up by (former Prime Minister Stephen) Harper,” and that he “does not like the law.”

On Dec. 18, Prince met with Butts and Telford. According to a text message sent by Prince to Wilson-Raybould after the meeting, Butts had said: “Jess, there is no solution here that doesn’t involve some interference.”

Wilson-Raybould also told the committee about a phone call with Wernick on Dec. 19 that she said made her think of the “Saturday Night Massacre,” a reference to U.S. President Richard Nixon’s firing of the independent prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.

She testified that Wernick told her Trudeau “is quite determined, quite firm, he wants to know why the (deferred prosecution) route which Parliament provided for isn’t being used … He is gonna find a way to get it done one way or another.”


Less than three weeks later, on Jan. 7, Trudeau told Wilson-Raybould she was being removed as justice minister.

Liberal MPs on the justice committee said they’re inviting Butts, Wernick and Drouin to appear for “clarification” on some issues.

“We believe that it is important that Mr. Butts respond to the account of the meeting of the 18th provided by Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould, in addition to the other allegations about him and PMO colleagues mentioned in her testimony,” said the statement.

“Given that Mr. Wernick and Ms. Drouin appeared prior to cabinet confidence and solicitor client privilege on the SNC file being waived for testimony before the committee, and given that they were both mentioned by Ms. Wilson-Raybould in relation to the December 19th phone call and subsequent events, we would like to hear from them about their recollection of the events and conversations mentioned in Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s testimony.”

— With files from René Bruemmer, Montreal Gazette

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Preaching to the choir here, but trudeau is very hypocritical as a self proclaimed feminist. When JWR stated that she was approached numerous times trudeaus gang, and she said no, but they kept trying to pressure her, does that not qualify as harassment? To which trudeau responds by saying he doesn’t see it that way. This was his same rational for the groping charge....he didn’t remember the circumstances that way (how much was the victim paid to keep quiet?)

And on another point the Libs keep harping on.....the job losses in Quebec and the pensioners trying to get by....wouldn’t the pension plans be in a trust outside of the companies reach? If not and he is so worried about the pensioners losing their contributions....he and morneau should change the pension rules.




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