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Malcolm

All About Justin / The good, the bad and the ugly

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2 hours ago, Jaydee said:

Trudeau, Gone By June?

 

“ The same journalists who sold us the Trudeau dream are now pretending they haven't been acting as surrogates and salesmen for the Liberal Party this whole time. Famous Liberal fart catcher, Paul Wells, recently published a scathing review of Justin Trudeau in Maclean's. Journalists at the Huffington Post have gone silent after spending the past three years celebrating Trudeau's feminism and the CBC is left with no choice but to cover the unfolding SNC-Lavalin scandal. The good news for all of them is that they get to act like real journalists again and take this opportunity to prove themselves as truly non-partisan players. Or, at least, that's what they're telling themselves. Either way, all of this has produced a massive, gourmet **bleep** sandwich that we get to watch them eat.”

 

” Liberal Party elites and handlers took Justin Trudeau aside, made him cut his hair and take courses in public speaking, so they could use him to rebuild the party's brand and take back the government. Unfortunately, they didn't see what a problem his lack of leadership would become. Now, here we are. The Liberal government is a mess and people's personal reputations and political careers are at stake because of Justin Trudeau's leadership.”

 

http://www.poletical.com/liberal-leadership-trudeau.php

 

I include the Globe and Mail in that select group as well. only a half rung above the CBC.

Whatever happened to the media reporting facts, and letting me make up my mind ???  Spin is such a prevalent commodity these days, it is actually quite sickening.

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Apparently Trudeau’s not as stupid as he seems. He knows SASKATCHEWAN literally HATES him :Dancing-Chilli:

E062760B-1F08-4578-AA6F-37473FF886F3.jpeg

Edited by Jaydee

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March 5, 2019 7:58 am

Trudeau cancels Regina trip to head into private meetings amid SNC-Lavalin affair

By Staff The Canadian Press...x
 
 

A scheduled visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Regina has been cancelled.

Eleanore Catenaro, a spokeswoman for Trudeau, confirmed to The Canadian Press this morning that the prime minister is going to return to Ottawa for private meetings, amid escalating controversy over the SNC-Lavalin affair.

READ MORE: Most Canadians side with Wilson-Raybould, believe Trudeau has lost moral authority to govern — Ipsos poll

Trudeau was scheduled to appear at a Canadian Tire store to speak about climate incentive rebates.

He was also to deliver remarks at a Liberal Party of Canada fundraiser this evening.

His cancellation comes one day after Treasury Board president Jane Philpott resigned from cabinet amidst accusations of political interference in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

It also comes one day before Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s former principal secretary and right-hand man, is set to testify on the controversy before the House of Commons justice committee along with Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick and Nathalie Drouin, deputy attorney general.

On Monday night, Trudeau would not take questions from reporters on the stunning resignation of Philpott.

Instead, he addressed the resignation in brief remarks during a climate change rally in Toronto, then moved on.

Trudeau said he had known Philpott had serious concerns about the handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair “for some time.”“In a democracy like ours and in a space where we value our diversity so strongly, we’re allowed to have disagreements and debate. We even encourage it. This matter has generated an important discussion. How democratic institutions, specifically the federal ministry and the staff and officials that support it, conduct themselves is critical and core to all of our principles,” Trudeau said.

“Concerns of this nature must be taken very seriously and I can assure you that I am.”

Philpott in her resignation letter on Monday said she no longer had confidence in the government over its handling of the allegations of attempted political interference first published by the Globe and Mail last month and corroborated by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould in four hours of explosive testimony before the justice committee last week.

Reading out text and email exchanges, as well as copious notes, she described a four month campaign of “consistent and sustained efforts” to pressure her into intervening in the decision of the director of public prosecutions not to offer SNC-Lavalin a remediation deal to avoid criminal trial and potential conviction.

A conviction would have led to the Montreal engineering firm being blacklisted from lucrative federal contracts for 10 years.

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Chris Selley: Imagine Trudeau’s befuddlement as his brightest recruits threaten his demise

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎4, ‎2019, ‏‎11:27:16 PM | Chris Selley

Recent Canadian political history has seen more than one person leave a very successful professional life for politics, only to stagger back out of it considerably poorer, thoroughly discredited and covered in egg. Perhaps most spectacularly, David Livingston left a 30-year career as an executive at TD Bank to become CEO of Infrastructure Ontario. Seven years later he became then-premier Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff.

Two years later, his lawyer, Bryan Gover, tried to convince the Ontario Provincial Police not to charge him with respect to the deletion of emails pertaining to the Liberals’ gas plant scandal. “He earned an impeccable reputation in the private sector,” Gover insisted. It didn’t work. Livingston was convicted on two criminal charges and sentenced to four months in prison.

To recap: big bank exec; public sector CEO (2011 salary: $321,249.88); senior political aide; jail. Imagine your grandchildren learning about Dalton McGuinty in school. Imagine telling them you actually went to jail for the twit.

Nigel Wright is the smartest guy in most rooms. In a 2011 profile in The Walrus by Michael Posner, Robert Prichard referred to Wright as “among the very best and brightest of his generation.” At the time he was setting aside a sparkling and no doubt very lucrative Bay Street career at Onex, before which he had practiced corporate law at heavy-hitters Davies, Ward, and Beck, to become then-prime minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff.

“Prichard … predicts Stephen Harper will soon be pinching himself and asking, ‘Where has this guy been all my life?’” Posner wrote. And then, one day, Wright found himself writing a secret $90,000 personal cheque to Sen. Mike Duffy to make a bunch of problems go away.

Unlike Livingston, Wright actually had defenders outside his party: He was only trying to reimburse taxpayers for Duffy’s dodgy spending, some protested. (Peculiar that he didn’t let taxpayers know.) And lucky for him, for reasons some of us have never quite grasped, Duffy stood trial for receiving a bribe whose proffer escaped the Crown’s attention entirely.

Still, imagine your grandchildren learning about Mike Duffy. Then imagine explaining just how low you were willing to stoop to keep him quiet.

❤️ When you add women, please do not expect the status quo. Expect us to make correct decisions, stand for what is right and exit when values are compromised. Thank you @janephilpott for articulating this beautifully. +1 https://t.co/hyVSB4MREk

— MP Celina 🇨🇦 (@MPCelina) March 4, 2019

 

David Lametti has degrees from U of T, McGill, Yale and Oxford; in 2015 he left his position as a law professor at McGIll to run for the Liberals in LaSalle-Émard-Verdun, and won. Within days of his prestigious appointment as Canada’s Justice Minister last week, Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson asked him whether an election being at stake could ever be a good reason for a government to muck about in an independent prosecution. Astonishingly, his answer wasn’t no. And he said he wouldn’t rule out offering SNC-Lavalin the deferred prosecution agreement that his boss allegedly tried to jam down his predecessor’s throat, causing her to quit on principle.

We’ve become inured to it: To enter politics behind the scenes is to check your principles, if any, at reception. To enter it as a member of a legislature is all but to consent to lobotomy. Never mind your degrees and your doorstop of a CV: A warren of far-too-intense 23-year-old weirdos has written talking points for you and, damn it, you’re going to read them.

This is what makes the resignations from cabinet of successful lawyer Jody Wilson-Raybould and, on Monday, successful family doctor Jane Philpott so stunning. One can understand the PMO’s frustration as it explained the thousands of jobs implicated in a potential conviction for SNC-Lavalin, only to be rebutted with something as arcane as “the rule of law.” But at least they could badmouth the not-universally-popular Wilson-Raybould to friendly reporters. One can scarcely imagine the PMO’s befuddlement when the all-but-universally-respected Philpott decided she couldn’t be associated with it any longer. Does this woman not know what’s at stake?

wilson-raybould-philpott-1.png?w=640&h=4

Then-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, left, and then-Health Minister Jane Philpott in April 2017.

Indeed, the “it’s them or Andrew Scheer” desperation among Liberal partisans reached a new crescendo on Monday. Maybe Wilson-Raybould and Philpott realize that’s not actually the dividing line between civilization and Thunderdome that the Liberals would have us believe. Or maybe they realize that sacrificing one’s principles is not excused when negative consequences are indicated. Some would argue that’s the only time when sticking to them really matters.

Either way, these clearly aren’t the politicians we’re used to. Perhaps having mistaken a slogan for a credo, they’re actually doing politics differently. “When you add women, please do not expect the status quo,” Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who’s not running in 2019, tweeted on Monday after Philpott’s resignation. “Expect us to make correct decisions, stand for what is right and exit when values are compromised.”

That is just savagely on point. If nothing else, Trudeau can hang his hat on some very talented recruits. It’s entirely fitting they are now making life miserable for this simpering charlatan of a prime minister.

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Matt Gurney: A brutally clear Philpott leaves no room for Liberal spin

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎4, ‎2019, ‏‎8:05:03 PM | Matt Gurney

It’s not just the women quitting in disgust that’s going to cause Prime Minister Justin Trudeau so much trouble. That’s bad enough, to be sure. But it’s what they’re saying as they head out the door that’ll do the real damage.

Jane Philpott, the Toronto-area Liberal MP who resigned Monday afternoon from her cabinet post as head of the Treasury Board, did not go quietly. As she headed out the door, she sent the prime minister a message. I don’t mean that metaphorically. She quite literally sent him a message: a letter that she also shared openly on her social media channels. It’s quite a read.

She starts with the apparently mandatory recapping of her proudest moments during the past three years, citing such accomplishments as improvements to health care and implementing Canada’s assisted-dying regulations. But she moves quickly into remarkably blunt criticism of the Trudeau government. She leaves virtually no room for interpretation or spin.

Since a “minister must always be prepared to defend other ministers publicly, and must speak in support of the government and its policies. … (it) is untenable for me to continue to serve as a cabinet minister,” she says near the top, which is damning enough on its own. But she goes in for the kill with her very next paragraph.

“Unfortunately, the evidence of efforts by politicians and/or officials to pressure the former attorney general … and the evidence as to the content of those efforts have raised serious concerns for me,” Philpott wrote. She adds later, “It is a fundamental doctrine of the rule of law that our attorney general should not be subjected to political pressure or interference regarding the exercise of her prosecutorial discretion in criminal cases. Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised.”

jane_philpott_and_jody_wilson-raybould.j

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott take part in a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Jan. 14, 2019, prior to both quitting cabinet.

That’s …. that’s remarkable. I mean, have fun spinning that one, Liberal partisans.

Reading Philpott’s statement is especially interesting when considered against a similar one Jody Wilson-Raybould, the woman at the heart of this controversy, posted in January. When Wilson-Raybould was shuffled from the Justice portfolio to Veterans Affairs, and out of the attorney’s general role at the same time, she released a long public statement, expressing pride in her accomplishments and also stressing that she had always sought to uphold the rule of law. The statement was immediately and widely remarked upon because it was unusual for two reasons: first, such statements are rare after a cabinet shuffle, period, and Wilson-Raybould was sending a message that Canadians, absent the vital context of the alleged interference she endured, couldn’t quite grasp.

Once the scandal went public with the Globe and Mail report three weeks later, Canadians could go back and read Wilson-Raybould’s statement and grasp its huge implications.

There is no such room for ambiguity with Philpott’s statement. That’s probably not a coincidence. Philpott saw the confused public reaction, including plenty of rumour-mongering and speculation, that followed Wilson-Raybould’s (once) ambiguous statement. She also has seen in recent weeks how the Prime Minister’s Office, either directly or through various proxies, has tried to fight back by undermining Wilson-Raybould’s reputation and credibility. And Philpott adjusted her strategy accordingly.

Reread the sections of her statement I’ve quoted. Really focus on the language: “The evidence of efforts by politicians and/or officials.” “The evidence as to the content of those efforts.” Evidence. The e-word. She uses it twice in a row. None of the absurd “well, gee, I guess Jody has her version of the truth (and it’s wrong)” talking points Liberals have been trying to get away with in recent days. Philpott cuts right through that, viciously. She’s quitting cabinet because she’s satisfied there’s evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of the government. That’s massively significant.

philpott_office.jpg?w=640&h=480

The constituency office of Liberal MP Jane Philpott is seen in Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ont., on March 4, 2019.

As are her comments on what the issue is. Yes, Philpott is probably incensed at the treatment Wilson-Raybould has been subjected to by the PMO and its proxies in recent days. Philpott was outspoken in her support of Wilson-Raybould when the latter quit cabinet last month. There’s clearly a personal element to all of this, something that has made it difficult — impossible, apparently — for Philpott to do nothing while fellow Liberals worked to undercut her colleague. Reacting to Philpott’s resignation on Monday evening, Finance Minister Bill Morneau noted exactly that — he said the prime minister still has his full confidence and that Philpott and Wilson-Raybould are close friends.

The implication, obviously, is that this is about personal loyalty. No doubt that’s a factor. But it’s not what Philpott chose to put in her statement. What is in the statement is one of the prime minister’s more competent and better regarded ministers saying that the government has gone against a “fundamental doctrine” of Canadian law. Again, focus on the language — get out your red pen and start striking out the extra words. When you boil Philpott’s statement down to its essence, it’s impossible to ignore the stark reality: she quit because of evidence that the government acted contrary to the rule of law. She has lost confidence in the government. She’s said this with brutal clarity, giving the prime minister and his office no wiggle room.

Philpott’s been watching and learning. She’s seen what happened to Wilson-Raybould. She did this anyway, and at a time and place of her choosing, even after the Liberals tried to hurt Wilson-Raybould’s reputation with whispers, whispers that got so bad Trudeau felt compelled to apologize for what his own colleagues were saying. Philpott knew that might be coming, so she made her case clear as day — and it’s devastating for Trudeau.

Like I said, Liberals — have fun spinning this one.

Twitter: MattGurney

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SNC-Lavalin: Did Justin Trudeau break the law?

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎5, ‎2019, ‏‎22 minutes ago | Tristin Hopper

It’s increasingly clear that Canada isn’t particularly happy with Justin Trudeau for allegedly trying to interfere with the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. As Jane Philpott said upon her resignation from cabinet on Monday, “the solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system.”

Solemn principles are one thing, but did Trudeau break the law?

Below, the National Post bothered a bunch of legal experts to find out.

Trudeau, much like Trump, is accused of political interference in the justice system
The U.S. president, as you’ve probably heard, is currently facing a never-ending avalanche of legal scrutiny. While a Special Counsel investigation has not found all that much evidence that Donald Trump is guilty of electoral collusion with Russia, it has a better case that the president tried to obstruct the investigation into such. Specifically, that he counselled the FBI to “go easy” on his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and fired FBI director James Comey in an explicit bid to stop “the Russian thing.” “It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice,” New York Democratic congressman Larry Nadler said this week. While Trump has a whole host of other allegations on his plate (and also has an unfortunate habit of firing off tweets reading “WITCH HUNT!”), these particular ones are eerily similar to those currently faced by Trudeau. Both men are effectively accused of using the power of their political office in order to interfere with the wheels of justice. But with one difference: Trump hasn’t yet had a former cabinet member attest to them in sworn testimony.

Trudeau (probably) broke no Canadian laws
As polls are showing, a clear majority of Canadians seem to be on board with the idea that it is inordinately unethical to pressure an attorney general to drop criminal charges against a prominent lobbyist, and then fire her when she refuses. However, that doesn’t mean it’s illegal. Canada does have laws against the obstruction of justice. Specifically, you can go to jail if you’re found to have attempted “in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice.” Rocco Galati, the Toronto-based lawyer who helped lead a case that led to the quashing of Conservative Supreme Court appointee Marc Nadon, is firmly of the opinion that Trudeau broke the law. As Galati told the National Post, “he and his staff … were obstructing a legal proceeding.” However, it’s not like Trudeau threatened a witness or bribed a judge. The hitch, as explained below, is that everything Trudeau is alleged to have done could also be characterized as the normal execution of his prime ministerial duties.

Like it or not, the Prime Minister can fire whoever he wants at any time
It’s a detail Canadians may prefer to ignore, but the prime minister of a majority Canadian government is one of the most powerful single positions in the democratic world. “Prime ministers are free to dismiss, appoint and shuffle cabinet as they please,” said Philippe Lagasse, a Carleton University Westminster expert. They’ve also got a pretty clear hand to badger and harangue that cabinet, as Trudeau is alleged to have done with Wilson-Raybould. In 2012, then-prime minister Stephen Harper was taken to court after he fired Helena Guergis as his Status of Women minister. Guergis alleged in Ontario Superior Court that she was the victim of a unseemly, high-level conspiracy to be turfed out under false pretenses. The court determined that, even if Harper’s motivations had been unseemly or self-interested, his actions were nevertheless protected by Crown prerogative. “Crown privilege is an important principle of our legal system and it cannot be displaced or attacked collaterally by way of allegations of tortious conduct,” read a decision. Another point in Trudeau’s favour is that he never explicitly told Wilson-Raybould “block a prosecution or you’re fired.” Rather, he could say he was merely counselling a member of his caucus. “There appears to be an awful lot of weight put on Jody Wilson-Raybould but no specific direction, except the explicit direction to the next attorney general of firing the present one,” said John Whyte, a veteran law professor at the University of Regina.

Helena Guergis

Were this the U.S., it’s much more likely Trudeau would be in criminal territory
As a rule, the Americans put many more people in jail than Canada and lapses of political ethics are no exception. Let’s take it as a given that everything said last week by Jody Wilson-Raybould is indisputably correct: Trudeau repeatedly attempted to quash a criminal prosecution for nakedly political purposes (protecting jobs in his Papineau riding), and then fired Wilson-Raybould when she refused. U.S. federal law is much more specific when it comes to obstruction of justice. While a Canadian has to “obstruct, pervert or defeat” justice in order to be found guilty, an American needs only to “obstruct, influence, or impede any official proceeding, or attempt to do so.” Joshua Matz, a New York-based constitutional lawyer, told the National Post that “ordering that an active criminal investigation cease for corrupt reasons, and then firing a senior official for refusing to bury the investigation, would very likely run afoul of the federal obstruction statute.” As it is in Canada, however, there is disagreement on this point. Constitutional lawyer David Rivkin, for one, is a prominent proponent of the view that Trump is shielded from obstruction of justice charges because, so long as he’s merely discharging the normal duties of a president, it’s irrelevant whether he’s doing it for corrupt reasons. “In the minds of one’s political enemies, your motives are never pure,” Rivkin told the National Post.

The Supreme Court of Canada could conceivably still rule all of this unconstitutional
At the root of LavScam is the uncomfortable proximity of Canada’s justice system to its political system. The person with ultimate authority over federal prosecutions remains a person who also attends cabinet meetings and can be fired at will by the prime minister if seen to be non-compliant. Joseph Magnet, a constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa, believes that if this aspect of LavScam ever finds its way before the Supreme Court, it’s possible the justices could order that Canada receive a more independent attorney general. “I am prepared to say that no law was broken, but I can foresee that a court could say, in the future, that this relationship must, as a matter of constitutional requirement, be depoliticized,” he said. In the 1990s, several Canadian provinces cut the salaries of their judges, leading to accusations that a court wasn’t truly independent if a politician was in charge of their payroll. In a reference decision, the Supreme Court agreed and mandated that judicial salaries would henceforth need to be set by independent commissions. To Magnet, the 1997 case is precedent that the Supreme Court might lean on the side of spinning off the Attorney General into a more independent role. Fellow law professor John Whyte disagreed, saying he would be “shocked” if the Supreme Court overturned an 151-year precedent of Canadian attorneys general also being cabinet members. “There’s some reason to hold attorneys general accountable for the way they run the administration of justice, and I can’t believe the Supreme Court of Canada would venture into making a structural change in our constitution,” he said

This is probably one of those things that only has a political remedy
Returning to Trump for a second: If overwhelming evidence emerges that he’s a justice-obstructor, the likely remedy would be impeachment. But impeachment is not a legal process; it’s a political one. While presidents are technically only supposed to be removed for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” this is a pretty broad category that can conceivably include any perceived sleight that a hostile House of Representatives wants to throw at him. A similar check exists in Canada, albeit with much less paperwork. Justin Trudeau only gets to remain prime minister because he commands the confidence of the House of Commons. If a majority of MPs decides they don’t want Trudeau as prime minister any more, he can be turfed out. If the events of the last few weeks do end up imperiling the position of Trudeau, the decision lays squarely in the hands of his Liberal caucus. It’s been a while since a Canadian caucus kicked out a prime minister between elections, but as Tony Blair or Gordon Brown could tell you, the Brits are rather more fond of it.•

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LOL, if you subscribe to the theory that you will get ANYWHERE not paying bribes in Libya then I know for sure you haven't been there. LOOK DEEPER....  You won't even get past the first VCP (vehicle check point). Stay in your safe space.

I once provided escort for a lady who insisted on paying the cost of passage through VCPs in (bulk pre-bagged) chocolate Ex lax. I still laugh every time I think of her and wonder what she is doing now.

Fear not though..... a well planned, highly orchestrated display of contrition is on the horizon. These lies will certainly deflect the other (out right, manipulated, bold faced) lies about registered gun owners.... there's 2.1 million votes up your SVC JT.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-raybould-philpott-snc-lavalin-1.5043763

Edited by Wolfhunter

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1 hour ago, Wolfhunter said:

LOL, if you subscribe to the theory that you will get ANYWHERE not paying bribes in Libya then I know for sure you haven't been there. LOOK DEEPER....  You won't even get past the first VCP (vehicle check point). Stay in your safe space.

I once provided escort for a lady who insisted on paying the cost of passage through VCPs in (bulk pre-bagged) chocolate Ex lax. I still laugh every time I think of her and wonder what she is doing now.

Fear not though..... a well planned, highly orchestrated display of contrition is on the horizon. These lies will certainly deflect the other (out right, manipulated, bold faced) lies about registered gun owners.... there's 2.1 million votes up your SVC JT.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-raybould-philpott-snc-lavalin-1.5043763

Paying bribes is def. a way of doing business in a lot of the world as is political interference in the Justice System.  Both however are not part of acceptable "Traditional" Canadian Culture at home. 

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Will he offer it while shedding  tears????😂

Trudeau considering a statement of contrition over SNC-Lavalin

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scrapped his public agenda and returned to Ottawa Tuesday for high-level discussions to plot next steps in the ongoing SNC-Lavalin controversy — steps that may include Trudeau making some display of contrition over how officials in his office conducted themselves.

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Source said Trudeau had no warning of Philpott's resignation

David Cochrane · CBC News · Posted: Mar 05, 2019 2:47 PM ET | Last Updated: 40 minutes ago
 
canada-politics-snc-lavalin.jpg
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is conferring with his top advisers today to find a way forward on the SNC-Lavalin scandal. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding high-level discussions today to plot next steps in the ongoing SNC-Lavalin controversy — steps which may include Trudeau making some display of contrition over how officials in his office conducted themselves.

A senior government official said one of the options being discussed is for Trudeau to "show some ownership over the actions of his staff and officials" in their dealings with his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould resigned from her cabinet position as veteran affairs minister on Feb. 12. Wilson-Raybould testified before a Commons committee last week that 11 officials in the Prime Minister's Office and other offices inappropriately pressured her to override a decision to prosecute SNC-Lavalin on bribery charges related to contracts in Libya.

On Monday, Jane Philpott — one of Trudeau's most trusted ministers — resigned from cabinet over the SNC-Lavalin affair as well, saying she had to "abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities and constitutional obligations."

A shift in messaging

To this point, Trudeau has described the entire controversy as a difference of opinion, insisting his office has done nothing wrong.

But the source said that Trudeau's comments at Monday night's climate change rally in Toronto hinted at a shift in approach.

 

"This matter has generated an important discussion," Trudeau told supporters at the rally. "How our democratic institutions, specifically the federal ministry and the staff and officials that support it, conduct themselves is critical and core to all of our principles."

 

Trudeau abruptly cancelled a trip to Regina to spend Tuesday afternoon with his top advisers — including chief of staff Katie Telford, executive director of communications and planning Kate Purchase, executive director of issues management Brian Clow and Canada's Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton.

 

All of this was prompted by Philpott's sudden resignation, which the source said "change(d) things once again — maybe in its biggest way so far."

No warning

 

The source confirms the prime minister had no idea Philpott was poised to resign when he made minor changes to his cabinet on Friday to fill the vacancy caused by Wilson-Raybould's resignation. Trudeau, the source said, didn't know Philpott was quitting until they spoke shortly before her resignation was made public.

 

Multiple high-level sources tell CBC News people in Trudeau's circle have been concerned about Philpott's level of comfort since the controversy erupted. Philpott was widely viewed as one of the most competent and effective ministers in the Trudeau cabinet. Seen as a highly-principled team player, Philpott is also a close friend and ally of Wilson-Raybould.

 

Because of that relationship, sources said, other ministers and top political staff tried to reassure Philpott by attempting to explain the government's conduct and seeking her advice on how to move forward.

 

Those efforts failed. In her resignation letter, Philpott made it clear she was resigning over the government's handling of SNC-Lavalin.

 

"Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised," she wrote in her resignation letter

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56 minutes ago, Malcolm said:

Both however are not part of acceptable "Traditional" Canadian Culture at home. 

Cool.

Then stay home, stay safe and imagine the world as you might hope it to be. I'm rooting for ya.

Then again, should you choose an alternate path, don't snow the snow queen and pretend it isn't so. The lack of depth into this issue is staggering. The very notion that Canadian values are somehow governing (or shared) has fuelled significant misery in places like Libya.

 

Edited by Wolfhunter

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If Trudeau thinks another one of his “tear jerker” Mea Culpas is going to cut it this time around, he truly is delusional and should be forced to resign !!

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52 minutes ago, Wolfhunter said:

Cool.

Then stay home, stay safe and imagine the world as you might hope it to be. I'm rooting for ya.

Then again, should you choose an alternate path, don't snow the snow queen and pretend it isn't so. The lack of depth into this issue is staggering. The very notion that Canadian values are somehow governing (or shared) has fuelled significant misery in places like Libya.

 

You are def. trying to be a jerk.  My point is this, modes / ideals of behaviour  in foreign countries are not under our control but what happens in Canada is.

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18 hours ago, Malcolm said:

You are def. trying to be a jerk.

Name calling changes nothing on the ground in Libya. You either do business there or you don’t….

This didn’t take place in Canada and that speaks to my point. In places like Libya, bribes are a like dandelions. If your point is that you don’t like it then we are in agreement. The sudden offence and distain people have expressed over bribes, which arguably are SOP behaviour there, stands in contrast to every day reality on the ground. Thus it makes no sense to me and I wonder what coals are fuelling the smoke we are currently inhaling... answer that and I bet you will find violations of Canadian law and UN sanctions that will make a 10 year ban on government contracts sound like a good deal. And that is fully under our control. My concern is the movement of money and people in direct violation of UN travel bans and asset freezes;  by all accounts, SNC was up to its armpits. Bribery charges and a deferred prosecution sounds like a plea deal to me.

To me, it is the nature of the bribes (were they criminal in nature) that is the issue here and not the simple fact that cash was paid for contracts in Libya. Assuming I am wrong about the subversive nature of these bribes (violation of UN sanctions), it seems reasonable not to destroy a large Canadian company. To me, what the bribes actually where (the deeds done) stand at the heart of the issue. If nothing else, it seems to me the visit of Saadi to Canada stands in violation of Canadian law on its own merits and defies the classic definition of bribes. If, knowing that, the government pushed to give them a sweetheart deal, surely that action (in and of itself) is criminal and obstructive in nature and transcends simply pressuring a Minister of The Crown.

 https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/columnists/on-target-snc-lavalin-has-ties-to-gadhafi-years-288924/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/libya-snc-1.5014939

Edited by Wolfhunter

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imposter.jpg.84917aeafc4f445f8130c7a863c9c80b.jpg

Justin Trudeau, imposter

Paul Wells: The phoniness of the Prime Minister’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin file is a trait he shows the Canadian people all too often

by Paul Wells

Mar 4, 2019

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JUSTIN-TRUDEAU-UNCOVERED01-810x445-15514

Prime Minister Trudeau in his Centre Block office in Ottawa on Dec. 8, 2016. (Adam Scotti/PMO)

 

The story a few Liberals were telling privately, in the early hours after Jody Wilson-Raybould delivered her extraordinary testimony to the Commons justice committee about the endless procession of men who tried to make her cancel a criminal trial for SNC-Lavalin, was that she just didn’t get it.

The former attorney general is a nice enough sort, the story went, but she doesn’t really understand the way the world works. The whole point of amending the Criminal Code to provide for deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) was to make that option—a sort of negotiated fine in lieu of a trial for fraud and bribery—available to SNC-Lavalin. And if the option was available, why not use it? Jobs were at stake. Elections were at stake. Elections, plural, for Pete’s sake. First an election in Quebec last autumn, then a federal election this autumn.

So you could drag SNC through the mud of a court trial, long after the individual executives who actually did any frauding and bribing had fled the company, for what? To visit punishments upon everyone else in the company? To maybe scare it out of Montreal for good? To endanger the jobs of thousands of fine upstanding Quebecers and other Canadians? On the eve of elections? Plural?

READ MORE: Trudeau and senior Liberals kept linking SNC-Lavalin prosecution to elections

All of this was just so obvious to everyone who leaned on Wilson-Raybould, it was said privately. What the heck was she missing? Why didn’t she get it?

If it’s any comfort to the former attorney general, at least she can rest assured that she’s not the only person who didn’t get that blindingly obvious fix-the-Criminal-Code-to-suit-SNC-Lavalin-and-save-jobs-and-Liberal-hides connection. Because also out of the loop were the people of Canada. And if we were out of the loop, it’s because Justin Trudeau and his apparently inexhaustible supply of yes-men worked hard to keep us uninformed.

No part of the plan to save SNC-Lavalin was presented to the people of Canada, while it was being deployed, as a plan to save SNC-Lavalin. Who had called for the thing? Small businesses and NGOs, a Justice Department official said when the House Finance Committee inquired last autumn. The Quebec engineering giant was never mentioned in her testimony.

 

When the government inserted the DPAs into the Criminal Code, how did it announce the move? With a single paragraph on page 202 of the 2018 federal budget document, under the catchy heading “Addressing corporate integrity.” You really had to go to page 202 to learn anything at all about the scheme. Finance Minister Bill Morneau made no mention of it in his nationally televised budget speech.

And how was the DPA described on page 202, for insatiably curious or insomniac readers who might stumble across it? As a way to get tough on corporate wrongdoers. DPAs would be “an additional tool to hold corporate offenders to account,” the document said. They would “sanction criminal conduct appropriately and deter wrongdoing.”

Now, a federal budget document is a bulky thing, drafted and reviewed by dozens of government employees. They found no room in its 367 pages to mention that SNC had been pleading for this tough accountability crackdown for months. At massive expense. As a handy rule of thumb, corporate offenders don’t usually plead for additional tools to hold them to account.

RELATED: SNC-Lavalin’s allies in its push to avoid prosecution

Long story short, the government of Canada was telling one story to itself and another to Canadians. To themselves, they said they were protecting jobs. To the rest of us, they said they were getting tough. A government that indulges in that much sustained double-talk clearly thinks it has something to hide. It’s being disingenuous. It’s being phony. And since the lot of them never stop calling themselves #TeamTrudeau on Twitter, I guess we can, without fear of contradiction, say the Prime Minister of Canada has been the phony-in-chief.

If Trudeau is now saying his only priority was to save jobs, it’s because he got caught. If he refuses to say out loud what a majestic procession of Liberal minions kept telling Wilson-Raybould behind closed doors—that he was especially interested in saving Liberal jobs in back-to-back election years—it’s because that’s the kind of guy he is. He low-bridged a major change to criminal prosecutions while a large company was facing charges, depicting as a crackdown what was actually an escape hatch, because he didn’t dare simply say what he wanted. Didn’t think it would pass the smell test of the Canadian people. Didn’t think what he was doing was defensible.

And he was right.

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

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Wow...author Paul Wells ...who knew??    Previously pro liberal....maybe some independence after all.

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Drop the poses, Justin

Slogans sound hollow amid key resignations

  • Calgary Herald
  • 6 Mar 2019
  • REX MURPHY Comment
img?regionKey=LbYpV%2fbDF95rRsbahDJNEQ%3d%3d  

Fortuna, the wayward goddess, has abandoned her dalliance with Justin Trudeau. What he wins from here on, if he wins at all, will be on his own work, not her flippant favour.

The socks and the selfies are inert now, those props are dated, all their quaint magic gone. Even the rolledup sleeves and the loosely knotted tie (his let’s-all-getto-work look) come over now as a parody of the posing politician, the silk-vest patrician at the steel plant vainly affecting to identify with the sweating hard hats on the shop floor.

None of it is working anymore. The familiar gestures are all too self-conscious, the slogans dated and flaccid, the whole play-acting shtick is dead and worse — boring. And the speeches! Monday night’s in Toronto (to launch the election-year global-warming roadshow during a -19 C cold alert) verged on the manic; parts of the opening in particular were something you might have heard in the ancient Sunday morning revivalists’ broadcasts back in the Dark Ages of early television, Jimmy Swaggart or Garner Ted Armstrong raging against the darkness. It was eerie.

The two-minute concessionary acknowledgment of Jane Philpott’s resignation was insultingly perfunctory, swaddled in all the usual pompousness of “diversity” and “listening to other views,” utterly out of touch with the gravity and import of her departure, and the moral indictment of his government in which she framed it.

Here’s where we are. After these two key resignations, on a principle as central as the rule of law, after accusations that he and his administration wished to bend or break that rule of law, Mr. Trudeau has either to drop out altogether, or, start acting like the full man, and directly, without intermediaries, face the challenge that confronts his government.

Drop the poses. Choke off the slogans and pieties. Leave the jacket on. Sit down and speak to Canadians in detail on the moral and legal questions these two most serious ministers have put to him. Cut the theatricals. Don’t talk fatuously of the “bigger picture.” There is no bigger picture than whether you are morally entitled to govern.

Drop, too, the jobs cloak. There are too many unbuilt pipelines and an entire region that has been shedding jobs by the tens of thousands, while your government was writing Bill C-69, dancing at global-warming summits aimed at shutting down the oil industry, and writing new hymns to job-killing carbon taxes, for you now to pose as a job creator, and to shamelessly posit that saving SNCLavalin’s jobs was worth mauling the rule of law.

Ms. Philpott’s exercise of her choice is, in its way, even more explosive than Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould’s. The latter was harassed over months; she was the focus and centre of the pressure campaign to desert her responsibilities as attorney general.

The impact on her was direct. All that pressure, the special pleading and the veiled threats could understandably colour her judgment. Not to say, actually, that they did — but as a postulate, let us consider that.

But then we come to Ms. Philpott, arguably (pace Chrystia Freeland) the most adult, accomplished, unabrasive minister in Trudeau’s entire cabinet, welcomed in the early days as a lustrous ornament to his “new way of doing politics” and regarded since her arrival and service in many portfolios as singularly efficient and superbly competent.

This is the woman who resigned yesterday. Not some whining, marginal backbencher, with far less talent than ego, nursing a grudge over getting passed by.

Ms. Philpott, in one manner of speaking, was outside the contest, but being in cabinet, having been there when Ms. Wilson-Raybould presented to it, and to caucus — we may presume she’s heard the full tale.

And having heard it, both sides, she concludes she has to resign; that the price (too high) for staying in this cabinet after what has been done to Jody Wilson-Raybould, is the sacrifice of her personal integrity and a scar on her conscience.

Philpott’s resignation, intrinsically linked to the case made by Wilson-Raybould, is a bolt of winter lightning to the central nervous system of the Trudeau government.

Does anyone in the Prime Minister’s Office now actually believe that hauling out the knackered horse of climate change, placing Catherine McKenna in its tendentious, preachy saddle to tag-team with Justin, is going to — in that woeful cliché — change the channel?

If they do, they are delusional. They haven’t just drunk the Kool-Aid, they’ve poured it in the hot tub first, had a full splash-bathe-and-back-rub, and drunk the leavings.

I have a thought. Seeing what remains of their commitments to changing the voting system, abandoning omnibus bills, being open and transparent, remaining dedicated to the rule of law, unlocking Alberta’s oil — seeing where the Trudeau government is on all of these abandoned/mismanaged files — why should anyone think that even on its golden child of an issue, climate change, it is really any more serious or committed than on any of the others? Climate change might just be the last big pose.

A word on Gerry Butts’ longed-for appearance Wednesday morning: Why is Gerry Butts appearing? He doesn’t even work there anymore. Why all this drama for an ex-employee when the CEO is still on the premises — and he’s the one, the only one, who has all the answers.

Gerry is of course welcome to come by later. Enough for now though with the surrogates and deputies.

Two serious women of unsullied integrity, who committed their fortunes to joining your government, have told the public that morally they could stay no longer.

Mr. Trudeau owes them the courtesy of an answer, and the country of which he is the prime minister, a candid and complete accounting.

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PM NIXES TRIP, HUNKERS DOWN

Butts set to testify on SNC affair

  • Calgary Herald
  • 6 Mar 2019
  • JOHN IVISON Comment from Ottawa
img?regionKey=e7Mpn7k5PnLDfablALtKWg%3d%3dCOLE BURSTON / BLOOMBERG Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reflects at a mining industry convention in Toronto on Tuesday. Trudeau skipped a scheduled visit to Regina, a day after the resignation of senior minister Jane Philpott, as he met with advisers in Ottawa to discuss how to respond to the growing crisis.

TRUDEAU CANCELS TRIP, HUNKERS DOWN AS EVENTS THREATEN HIS LEADERSHIP

The Liberal party’s impulse to form a circular firing squad has created a moment in Canada’s political history that could change everything.

What John Stuart Mill called “the deep slumber of decided opinion” has been disrupted and the public roused. The sense that Justin Trudeau was pre-destined to be prime minister for as long as he wished has been shaken and it is entirely conceivable that he loses the election seven months from now.

Trudeau cancelled a Tuesday trip to Regina, where he was set to promote climate incentive rebates and deliver remarks at a Liberal party fundraiser. Instead, he returned to Ottawa to hunker down with advisers and discuss next steps in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

The mood inside the Prime Minister’s Office was said to be serene, with Trudeau aware of the gravity of a situation turned dramatically worse with the resignation of Treasury Board President Jane Philpott on Monday.

There is a belief that the cabinet is united behind a prime minister who spent much of the afternoon discussing options for future action. But, if cabinet has expressed support for Trudeau, caucus is restive.

One senior MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the overriding mood is of disappointment in the prime minister’s leadership. “The caucus is united in a desire to get re-elected. It is not necessarily united in a desire to be elected behind him,” they said.

Another MP said Trudeau should survive this storm, “but not without damage.”

There are no signs of a leadership challenge — yet. The question the prime minister must mull is: for how long?

He needs to extricate himself from a sticky situation that his own sense of denial and adherence to bland talking points have landed him in. His options to be proactive are limited, but they exist.

The smart move would be to take action after his former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick testify at the justice committee on Wednesday.

He could express contrition, saying that he and members of his team may have gone too far in pushing the former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to agree to a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin. He could split the role of justice minister from that of attorney general, removing the latter role from cabinet. He could make staffing changes, announcing Wernick’s early retirement while adding more experienced advisers to his own office — David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., has been linked with such a role and was part of Tuesday’s PMO strategy session in Ottawa.

All those moves are said to be up for discussion. Nothing will bury this story but if this prime minister is going to survive, he has to send public opinion back into a deep slumber. That would rule out booting Philpott and Wilson-Raybould from caucus, which would lead to a media feeding frenzy.

The public mood may get worse before it gets better. Editorial cartoonists have portrayed Wilson-Raybould as Tank Man, the Chinese student who stood in front of a column of tanks during the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.

Butts is set to give his testimony Wednesday but it is clear opposition MPs will lean heavily on Wilson-Raybould’s claim that he told her chief of staff “there is no solution that doesn’t involve some interference.”

He cannot appear to undermine her, so it would make sense if he talked about how aligned they have been in the past. There are said to be text messages to Butts from the former justice minister, sent after their meeting on Dec. 5 at the Château Laurier, that are cordial and include smiley-face emojis.

Wernick will face an even trickier task, as he attempts to reconcile his previous testimony at the justice committee with that of Wilson-Raybould.

He said he told Wilson-Raybould the prime minister was “anxious” about the SNC-Lavalin situation, but that their interactions were within the boundaries of what is legal and appropriate, and that he was merely informing the minister of context.

That account is inconsistent with her version of events. She said Wernick told her Trudeau remained “quite determined” to ensure SNC got its deal and that the prime minister was “going to find a way to get it done one way or another.”

When the former justice minister talked about “veiled threats,” she appeared to be referring to the clerk’s comment of the potential for a “collision” with the prime minister over SNC.

Politics, like most areas of life, is messy. Truth tends to be subjective, informed by the perspective of the person telling it. It is possible both are telling the truth.

Still, Butts and Wernick are going to have to be persuasive if they are going to sway public opinion from the former justice minister’s narrative, which many Canadians have taken as gospel.

More importantly for the Liberals, Trudeau needs to demonstrate to his caucus

EVEN IF HE SURVIVES, NOTHING WILL BE THE SAME AGAIN FOR TRUDEAU.

and the country that he can handle a crisis he has helped to agitate.

The recurring complaint in caucus is that Trudeau doesn’t ask MPs what they think, beyond the “cool crowd” of personal friends in cabinet or the “Praetorian guard” in the PMO. If he did, it is argued, he would have persuaded a popular and hard-working minister like Philpott that she didn’t have to resign.

We are at a defining moment in Canadian politics and, even if he survives, nothing will be the same again for Trudeau. The spell has been broken and the idea that he could be a oneterm wonder is no longer implausible.

“The disappointment is palpable,” said one Liberal MP. “This is a crisis and he’s been found wanting.”

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And now from the other side of the issue:

Read the full text of Gerald Butts’ statement to the House of Commons justice committee

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎6, ‎2019, ‏‎36 minutes ago | National Post

Thank you for having me here today. I would like to acknowledge that we are on the ancestral lands of the Algonquin people.

I want to say at the outset that I am not here to quarrel with the former Attorney-General, or to say a single negative word about her personally. Nor will I say a single negative word about any of my other former colleagues. They are good, honest people who do incredibly difficult jobs well. I am thankful for the many years I’ve spent working with them on so many important and complex issues.

What I am here to do is to give evidence that what happened last fall is in fact very different from the version of events you heard last week. It is based on direct communication with the former Attorney-General and her staff, contemporaneous notes I took in meetings I attended personally, and debriefs from people who attended meetings I did not. It is also based on many meetings and briefings the former Attorney-General would have no knowledge of, though in some cases I made attempts to inform her of them. I will restrict my remarks to events I am allowed to discuss under the terms of the Order-in-Council, and have received legal counsel on how to do so.

LIVE: Gerald Butts testifies at justice committee
EN DIRECT : Témoignage de Gerald Butts devant le Comité de la Justice #cdnpoli
https://t.co/HI3AeWIV3G

— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) March 6, 2019

 

I want to make three important points in some detail.

https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1kvJpEeyXOZxE

First, everyone working on this file knew that the decision to direct the DPP to enter into negotiations toward a remediation agreement in the SNC-Lavalin case was the Attorney-General’s to make, and the Attorney-General’s alone. We also knew that the decision, whatever it was, would have a real impact on thousands of people, and we took our responsibility to those people very seriously. We respected the Attorney-General’s authority at all times, and did our jobs with integrity at all times.
Second, while the Attorney-General is the decision maker on remediation agreements, the Prime Minister is the decision maker on Cabinet shuffles. I will provide you with detailed evidence that the January Cabinet shuffle had nothing whatsoever to do with SNC-Lavalin. I apologize in advance to the people whose confidence I must break in order to meet the terms of this Committee.
Third, I believe that this is a story of two people who hold high office, the Prime Minister and the former Attorney-General, both of whom did their jobs to the best of their abilities, as did their respective staff. There was no malice directed toward anyone personally or professionally. However, a breakdown in the relationship between the former Attorney-General and the Prime Minister occurred. That breakdown coloured the unrelated events of the fall of 2018 in a negative light for many of the people involved. As the main point of contact in the PMO for the former Minister of Justice, I take responsibility for it.
The Prime Minister gave and maintained clear direction to the PMO and PCO on this file. That direction was to make sure the thousands of people whose jobs were, and it bears repeating, are at risk were at the forefront of our minds at all times.

If anything could be done to protect those innocent people, we were told to work with the professional public service to make sure that option would be given every due consideration.

He told us to keep in mind at all times that the decision to direct the Director of Public Prosecutions to enter into negotiations for remediation agreements rests with the Attorney-General, and the Attorney-General alone. We implemented that direction faithfully and with integrity. I was personally involved in the file on only a few occasions, but it was principally my responsibility to ensure that the Prime Minister’s direction was followed by PMO staff. I have no doubt that they did so to the highest standards.

So it was and is the Attorney-General’s decision to make.

It would, however, be Canadians’ decision to live with.

Specifically, the 9000-plus people who could lose their jobs, as well as the many thousands more who work on the company’s supply chain. The heart of the matter is that the Prime Minister and those around him believed that this is a real and significant public policy challenge that deserves a robust and thoughtful response.

This is an important point. At no time did the Prime Minister or anyone in the government direct or ask the Attorney-General to negotiate a remediation agreement. The former Attorney-General confirmed that last week to this committee.

So what, exactly, was staff talking to the Minister about?

We had a view that it would be appropriate for her to seek independent advice from an eminent Canadian jurist or panel of jurists. We believed that this was appropriate, first, because the law empowering the Attorney-General to use remediation agreements is new. Indeed, this was the first time that entering into a remediation agreement under the new regime was even possible.

Second, we felt that outside advice was appropriate because of the extraordinary consequences of a conviction. The fact that the company involved employs so many people across the country heightened the public importance of the matter. This view was informed by counsel from the public service.

That was the entirety of our advice to the Attorney-General, which we made clear she was free to accept or not.

We also made clear that, if the Attorney-General accepted our proposal and took external advice, she was equally free to reject or accept that advice.

It was not about second guessing the decision; it was about ensuring that the Attorney-General was making her decision with the absolute best evidence. Fresh in our minds was a recent Federal Court of Appeal decision that had found that the government had not conducted consultations sufficiently in connection with the TMX pipeline.

That was the substance of the discussions that the PMO had with the Attorney-General and the Attorney-General’s office. When you boil it all down, all we ever asked the Attorney-General to consider was a second opinion.

I am not a lawyer, and cannot give legal advice. But I have extensive experience in government. When 9000 people’s jobs are at stake, it is a public policy problem of the highest order. It was our obligation to exhaustively consider options the law allows, and to be forthright with people in explaining the Attorney-General’s decision, in order to be able to demonstrate that the decision was taken with great care in careful consideration of their livelihoods.

We learned last week that the Director of Public Prosecutions made her decision not to pursue a remediation agreement on September 4th, and that the Attorney-General was out of the country until September 12th. In that version of events, the Attorney-General made the final decision after weighing all of the public interest matters involved in just twelve days.

Imagine for a moment that on September 16th, the day the former Attorney-General told this committee the decision was made, firmly and finally, that she made a public announcement to inform Canadians of that decision. What would be the rationale?

There’s another important point here. I learned for the first time while watching the former Attorney-General’s testimony that she had made a final decision on the 16th of September.

My understanding is that nobody in the PMO or PCO knew that at the time either. In fact, it is not to my knowledge how the law works. My understanding, which was informed by the public service and lawyers in the PMO, is that the Attorney-General’s power to direct the DPP extends until the time a verdict is rendered. My further understanding is that the Attorney-General is free to take advice on the decision until that point, and is obligated to bring fresh eyes to new evidence. I believe the former Attorney-General confirmed this in her appearance here last week. The DPP considered the matter again itself in late September, when new evidence was presented by the company, and the DPP made a fresh decision on October 9th, 2018.

 

It was in that spirit that Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques had a discussion with the former Attorney-General on November 22nd, 2018. They discussed a memo prepared by lawyers in the Department of Justice that described the option to seek counsel from an eminent jurist. It was also the subject of my and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff’s one meeting on this file with the Attorney-General’s Chief of Staff, which I will happily answer questions about.

In any case, that was our operating assumption. The decision was not made, and we were free to inform it with advice. In the end, it was the Attorney-General’s alone to make, and it would be for all of us to explain. Most importantly, it would be for many thousands of people to live with.

I believed this was a shared operating assumption with the Attorney-General and her office at the time. And I never received any legal or policy advice that contradicted that.

Following the September 17th meeting the Attorney-General had with the Clerk and the Prime Minister, I was debriefed that the next step on the file would be to have the Clerk and the Deputy Minister of Justice meet with the Minister. That is my full recollection of the meeting, which I can confirm I did not attend. That seemed like a prudent course of action to me, and I went back to doing what I was doing 24/7 at the time: working on the NAFTA negotiations.

If the Attorney-General had made a decision, and communicated it to the Prime Minister and Clerk, why would there be a next step at all? Why would the Attorney-General take and solicit meetings on a closed matter?

Moreover, why would the Attorney-General not communicate her final decision in writing to the Prime Minister? Minister Wilson-Raybould’s preferred method of communicating complex or important matters is in writing, which I appreciate. I have studied lengthy memos from the former Minister on subjects as diverse as the appointment of a Supreme Court justice, the TMX pipeline process, and the work of the Cabinet Committee on Reconciliation.

Yet, in all our texts and emails, which begin the summer of 2013, there is not a single mention of this file or anyone’s conduct on this file until during the Cabinet shuffle.

This is a basic and important point. If any Cabinet minister is made aware of something they think is wrong, I believe at a minimum they have an obligation to inform the Prime Minister soon after they become aware of it. If it is a question of law and that minister is the Attorney-General, the obligation to inform the Prime Minister is of an even higher order. And it ought to be in writing so that its significance isn’t lost on its lay audience.

Personally, I spoke with the former Attorney-General once on this file, on December 5th 2018.

In three-and-a-half years in government, we had one brief discussion about this.

She raised it with me at the end of a two-hour dinner at the Château Laurier hotel. She asked for the meeting via text message. On November 26th, she wrote: “Hey there GB — do you want to chat? I have a number of things to bring up… maybe you do as well? Tomorrow after Cabinet perhaps? Thx Jod.” I replied “Sure. I’m heading to Toronto right after, but could delay 10 mins.” She replied “Happy to chat another time with you if heading to TO. Think this convo may be a bit longer than 10 mins.” We could not arrange our schedules to meet for a couple of weeks. It was a busy time. We were preparing for the G20, the new NAFTA signing ceremony, and the first First Minister’s Meeting with Premier Ford.

This bears repeating.

Minister Wilson-Raybould solicited the meeting with me. She also raised the subject with me. She asked if I had a view on the file, and I said I understood our offices were working together on ideas. We talked briefly about the idea of asking a retired Supreme Court chief justice for advice, but I noted that I had no expertise in the matter.

I believe the “Harper” comment she referred to was in the context of that discussion. She said that what Elder and Mathieu were proposing had never been done before. I said my understanding is that remediation agreements are brand new to Canada, and the PPSC itself was not very old, having been brought into being during the Harper years. My suggestion was that it is a legitimate public policy discussion to have in this circumstance, and it would help clarify the Attorney-General’s powers in this and any subsequent case. I suggested she speak with the Clerk or the public service for more-expert advice. I said that it was her call, and I knew it was her call. I have no memory of her asking me do anything, or to speak with staff about any aspect of the file. At no time did the former Attorney-General suggest that Elder and Mathieu had done anything wrong.

There was nothing remotely negative about the exchange from my perspective.

In fact, I walked away from dinner thinking it was the best discussion we had had in a while. We had both been busy with files that were not related to each other, and the Minister and I had not had a good chance to catch up since we last had dinner at the end of July. I talked mostly about climate change, the pollution pricing policy, the Saskatchewan court challenge, and the strategy to deal with the new configuration of Premiers around the First Ministers’ Meeting table. I asked her advice on the LAV contract issue, and we talked about the upcoming by-elections in BC. She had on her mind the civil litigation directive regarding Indigenous peoples, and various other matters unrelated to the file you are examining.

We parted that meeting as friends and colleagues, and exchanged personal text messages a couple of hours later. I wrote: “Nice to see you.” She replied: “Nice to see you too. Thx for the convo. Please say alo to PM. Heard him speaking my language in his speech… Good luck in Montreal — we stick to our guns/plan we will be good.”

Finally, on Tuesday December 11th, the Minister texted me for the last time about the meeting. It read: “Hey there — couple things. 1. KSA/LAVs — thought about it more. have some thoughts would not mind discussing. 2. Re: Directive — I made most of changes from Elder already prior to Cabinet — can this go out? Honestly not clear as to what result was at Cabinet — hear PM wants changes but I am confident I have addressed all concerns. This is a big deal to me as you know.”

The directive she is referring to is the Attorney-General’s directive on litigation matters involving Indigenous peoples, which was issued just before Ms. Wilson-Raybould became Minister of Veterans Affairs in January.

As you will note, SNC-Lavalin is not mentioned in these exchanges at all.

I fully accept that two people can experience the same event differently. I believed at the time that the Minister shared my interpretation of our dinner, and I only quote these messages so you can appreciate why I was so surprised to hear a couple of months later that the Minister experienced that dinner as pressure. I did not and do not see how our brief discussion of that file constituted pressure of any kind.

The second and final meeting I had on the file was with Jessica Prince, the Minister’s Chief of Staff, and Katie Telford. There was no urgency to attend that meeting. We said that Elder and Mathieu had discussed the issue in the spirit of helping us all defend the Minister’s decision, whatever it may be. I remember that meeting very, very differently than the account given last week. I remember Ms. Prince saying that the Minister didn’t want to consider “political factors” in the decision, and was worried about the appearance of political interference. I said that it is the Minister’s decision of course, but 9000 people are not a political issue. It was a very real public policy issue, in my view. I said that we needed to provide a rationale either way she decided, and I could not see how having someone like Beverley McLachlin give the Minister advice constituted political interference.

I also want to say that Ms. Telford’s comments were reported here last week badly out of context. Ms. Telford was simply saying what we say all the time when legal matters come up in the presence of lawyers: that we are not lawyers and cannot debate the law. On the op-ed point, she was simply saying that we would do our best to support the Minister, whatever decision she chose to make in this matter.

In any case, it was a brief meeting between staff, the kind which happens dozens of times a day, every day on Parliament Hill. Nobody in these meetings has the power to make any policy decision or change any law. We all have the responsibility to give forthright and honest advice to the people who do.

That is the sum total of my personal interactions with the Attorney-General on this file. A brief conversation at the end of what I thought was a good dinner, and a meeting with her staff where I sought to understand her reticence to receive advice from an independent jurist.

This to me begs the entire question of what exactly constitutes pressure?

According to the former Minister’s testimony, eleven people made twenty points of contact with her or her office over a period of close to four months. Four of these people never met with the Attorney-General in person. In my case at least, the Attorney-General solicited the meeting.

That is two meetings and two phone calls per month for the Minister and her office on an issue that could cost a minimum of 9000 Canadians their job. The Minister confirmed last week that nobody ever asked her to make or not make the decision.

You now know that the subject of those interactions was whether she would take independent, external advice on the matter.

It did not seem to me then, and does not now, that what we did was anything other than what those 9000 people would have every right to expect of their Prime Minister.

When you boil this all down, the only thing we ever asked the Attorney-General to do was to get a second opinion. And we also made it clear that she was free to accept that opinion, or not.

The Attorney-General and the Prime Minister saw each other frequently. The Attorney-General could have written or spoken to the Prime Minister at any time during this process to say attempts to contact her office on the matter were improper, and they should cease immediately. The Minister could have told the people who raised it with her that they were close to or crossing a line. The Minister could have texted or emailed me at any time.

However, the PMO’s interactions with the Attorney-General’s office were only called into question by the Attorney-General at the time of the Cabinet shuffle.

The Cabinet Shuffle

I would like now to turn to my role in providing advice for the shuffle, and the reasons informing the Prime Minister’s decisions.

Let me say at the outset, categorically: the January Cabinet shuffle had absolutely nothing to do with the SNC-Lavalin. In fact, I spent at least as much time working with colleagues to prevent the shuffle from happening as I did in preparing my advice for it.

On December 12th, the day of the caucus Christmas Party, Minister Brison approached me and Ms. Telford to tell us he was not running again, and that he would tell the Prime Minister later that day. The Minister said he didn’t have to leave Cabinet right away, but that he hoped we could manage a departure some time not too far into the New Year. He said he was going to tell his constituents 2 or 3 days later.

We had no idea that he was even thinking about retirement.

We did all we could to dissuade him, to take Christmas to think about it, and at least give the Prime Minister a chance to talk him out of it. I said it would trigger a Cabinet shuffle, and the Prime Minister was happy with the team he had. I immediately sought help from people who know Minister Brison well to talk him out of it, at home in Nova Scotia and in Ottawa. We spent the next couple of weeks trying to get him to stay.

My main political concern was our position in the Maritimes, specifically my home province of Nova Scotia. Mr. Casey had announced his retirement, and Mr. Fraser had told us he wouldn’t run again. I knew if the Prime Minister chose a minister from the class of 2015, Mr. Cuzner and Mr. Eyking could interpret that as a signal and perhaps not run again either. In short, in the span of a few months we would go from holding all 11 seats in Nova Scotia with strong incumbents, to having 5 of them open.

Complicating the matter further, both Minister Brison and Mr. Casey represent ridings where the Conservatives have traditionally been strong. In fact, both men were once Tory MPs. I also worried about the problem spreading into traditional Tory strongholds on the New Brunswick shore of the Bay of Fundy. A new Premier had just been sworn in after an election that divided along linguistic lines, and losing Minister Brison meant losing a recognized voice that could appeal to an important community.

In short, Minister Brison’s departure would put us in difficult situation. Nobody is irreplaceable in government, but Minister Brison was very important to our team. He is a highly valued friend and colleague to the Prime Minister, and to staff. So, my first piece of advice to the Prime Minister (and to all my colleagues) about the Cabinet shuffle was that we should do all we could to avoid having one. Everyone agreed, and we got to work trying to persuade the Minister to stay.

Neither the Prime Minister nor anyone around him wanted a Cabinet shuffle to happen at all. And we certainly didn’t want to do one the first week back after Christmas. We had done that in 2017 after the Trump election, but in that case we had over two months to plan it. This one would have to be done in a few days after Christmas, with ministers out of town and unavailable to meet in person.

Why is all this so important to these proceedings? For one reason: if Minister Brison had not resigned, Minister Wilson-Raybould would still be Minister of Justice today. That is a fact. A fact that is inconsistent and incompatible with the story many are trying to tell. But it is a fact nonetheless. And facts are stubborn things.

Cabinet selections are among the most difficult tasks for any First Minister. I’ve advised two First Ministers on 13 of them. They are all unique. The media treats them like the political equivalent of the NHL trade deadline, but the Prime Minister treats them very, very seriously. He cares deeply about the people around that table, and usually spends months thinking about who is best for what job. Almost invariably, he starts with the job and what is required of it, then settles on the person who is best suited to do it. There is no job in Canada like a federal Cabinet minister, as I’m sure Ms. Raitt and Mr. Poilievre can attest to. Whatever the portfolio, the jobs are uniquely demanding and important.

In this case, the Prime Minister would have just a handful of days to factor in all of these complex considerations. And I can say to you with absolute certainty that SNC-Lavalin was not one of them. Personally, I still had hope that Minister Brison could be talked into staying until the summer, so we could avoid the whole thing.

After all, it’s one thing to say you’re going to resign, but it’s another thing to do it.

The Prime Minister directed us to think about options over the holidays, just in case. He told us he wanted to move the fewest number of people possible. He said he had done his pre-election Cabinet shuffle in the summer and wanted to minimize the disruption. He reminded us that Treasury Board is an important job that few people outside Ottawa understand, but that it was vital for the basic functions of government. He said it could not be filled by a new minister.

So we came back after Christmas to the news that Minister Brison would indeed resign. He said he had thought long and hard about it, but that he and his husband Max had crossed the Rubicon and decided it was time to go.

This left us two large challenges that could not be solved with one person. We needed a Nova Scotia minister and a Treasury Board Chair with ministerial experience. No Nova Scotian except Mr. Regan had been a minister before, and he is the Speaker of the House of Commons. All signs pointed to Minister Philpott moving to Treasury Board. She had been Vice-Chair, so she had the experience to do the job.

The Prime Minister agreed with this, but he was worried about the signal it would send to Indigenous people. This, to me, is the saddest part of this whole story. Indigenous people have been sent precisely the opposite message from the one the Prime Minister intended.

The most valuable thing in any government is the First Minister’s time. The Prime Minister spends a lot of his on Indigenous issues. A lot. He cares about the relationship deeply, and he takes a strong personal interest in all aspects of the file. He was preoccupied with the fact that we had the Child and Family Services legislation coming up. He thought it would be one of the most important bills the government would pass.

He wanted a person in Indigenous Services who would send a strong signal that the work would keep going at the same pace, and that the file would have the same personal prominence for him. He also wanted to move someone who could be replaced from outside of Cabinet, to keep the shuffle small and contained.

The right (and perhaps only) person who could do that was Minister Wilson-Raybould.

The Prime Minister knew there were several capable and experienced lawyers in caucus who could be Justice Minister, but very few who could do Indigenous Services as well as she could. Indigenous Services had a large agenda left to fulfill, and most of the Justice mandate letter had been completed.

The short-list for Justice included several eminent lawyers with good backgrounds, including David Lametti. The Prime Minister chose Minister Lametti because he is a distinguished McGill Law professor with graduate degrees from Yale and Oxford. He was also aware that it would raise eyebrows if he had three Ministers in very large portfolios who all represented ridings on the subway line in downtown Toronto.

That was the context in which the Prime Minister made the decision to move Minister Wilson-Raybould. Neither her move from Justice nor Minister Lametti’s move into it had anything whatsoever to do with SNC-Lavalin.

So the plan was a simple one. Philpott to Treasury Board, Wilson-Raybould to Indigenous Services. Bring Lametti into Justice, and Jordan into the new Rural Affairs portfolio that caucus had been lobbying for.

It was a simple plan for a small, tidy shuffle. The Prime Minister was going to ask a couple of senior people do jobs they wouldn’t otherwise do, for the good of the team and the government.

The situation started to change on the weekend of January 5th. The Prime Minister spoke to Minister Philpott in person in his office on Sunday the 6th. The Prime Minister debriefed us right afterward. He said Minister Philpott was excited by the challenge, especially the digital government aspects of her new file. She said Minister Wilson-Raybould was an excellent choice for Indigenous Services, but worried she would see it as a demotion. Minister Philpott then told the Prime Minister that she worried that Minister Wilson-Raybould might wonder if her move were connected to the “DPA issue.”

That was the first time I ever heard anyone suggest that this Cabinet shuffle was in any way related to the SNC-Lavalin file.

The Prime Minister assured Minister Philpott that the shuffle had nothing to do with the file, and asked her if she would help with the transition of her ministry to Minister Wilson-Raybould. She said that she would, but she was clearly worried about how Minister Wilson-Raybould would react to the news.

After that meeting, I spoke to the Prime Minister privately. He was clearly disturbed and surprised by what Minister Philpott had said. I said to him that he had to factor into his thinking the possibility that the assertion she made would be made publicly, however far-fetched it seemed. I advised him that he has to know in his heart that is not the reason he was moving Minister Wilson-Raybould. He replied that he knew that was not why he was moving her, and he would not change his mind.

On January 7th, 2019 the Prime Minister phoned the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General to inform her that he was shuffling Cabinet, and that she would be part of that shuffle. I was present for the entire conversation, as was Ms. Telford. On his end, it took place from his 80 Wellington Street office, around 9:30 a.m. eastern time.

The following is from a contemporaneous note I took during the conversation. I also have the text messages Ms. Wilson-Raybould and I exchanged afterward, and will summarize them. They are deeply personal in nature and reflect two people trying to grapple with a very difficult situation. We would have many conversations in the following week, and I am at liberty under the terms of the Order-in-Council to discuss and answer questions about them. I will do so to the best of my abilities.

The Prime Minister began the call by saying that Minister Brison’s sudden departure had put us in “a tough spot.” He said that he didn’t want to shuffle Cabinet but that he needed our “best players” to move in order to “pitch in.” He said the Indigenous agenda was really important to him and to the country, as the Attorney-General knew well. He said he didn’t want to move Minister Philpott, but that she was the best-qualified person to do Treasury Board because she had been Vice-Chair.

He then said that would leave a large hole at Indigenous Services, and he didn’t want people to think he was relenting at all on the agenda. He said he knows how much she “loves being MOJAG” but that she was one of our top people, and moving her to Indigenous Services would “show Canadians how seriously we take this.” He said that “after the election, if we are successful, everything would be fresh again.”

There was a long pause on the phone. Minister Wilson-Raybould said that she was “a little bit shocked” because MOJAG was her “dream job.” She said “IS is not my dream job. I’m not going to lie about that.” The Prime Minister said “I know it is not your dream job, but it is core to this government’s mission and legacy. It is core to my and your mission and legacy.”

After another pause, Minister Wilson-Raybould said “I feel I’m being shifted out of Justice for other reasons.” I could tell the Prime Minister was taken aback by this, but he simply replied that he was doing this shuffle because he had to, and because he thinks it’s the best thing for the government and the country. He repeated that he wouldn’t be doing it at all if it weren’t for Minister Brison’s departure. He said when you lose a team member, everyone else has to pitch in. The call concluded.

Then Minister Wilson-Raybould did something I didn’t expect. I had never seen anyone do it before, in many shuffles, over many years. The former Attorney-General turned down a Cabinet portfolio. She said she could not do it for the reason that, frankly, I should have thought she would say, and I probably would have, had we had more time. She said she had spent her life opposed to the Indian Act, and couldn’t be in charge of the programs administered under its authority. I undertook to ask the Prime Minister to consider alternatives, but I also said I had never seen a Minister turn down a ministry. I said, obviously, it’s not my call, but I would try my best.

The obvious question is why did the Prime Minister not leave the Minister in her old job if she turned down a new one? My advice on that matter had nothing to do with the Minister personally, and nothing to do with any aspect of her old or new job. It was this: if you allow a minister to veto a Cabinet shuffle by refusing to move, you soon will not be able to manage Cabinet. It was not possible in this instance for the Prime Minister to go further than additionally offering the Veterans Affairs post. Cabinet invitations are not the product of shared decision-making. It is the Prime Minister’s decision to make and his alone to make. My advice was that the Prime Minister should not set the precedent that a Cabinet minister could refuse a new position, and effectively remain in one position for the life of the government.

Over the next few days, Ms. Wilson-Raybould and I talked and corresponded many times. I knew from the course of those conversations and exchanges that trust had broken down between our office and the Minister. I was deeply concerned by what the Minister was saying. It was all a great and sad surprise to me that she could draw those sorts of conclusions about her colleagues, including myself. I tried to counter her misapprehensions with repeated, honest efforts. In the end, I unable to do so. And here we are today.

Two Ships

I am firmly convinced that nothing happened here beyond the normal operations of government. Highly trained legal staff in PMO worked closely with PCO’s legal team on all aspects of the file, to make sure that the Shawcross doctrine was adhered to.

I have had some time on my hands for the first time in a long while. I have used that time to review all of my existing texts and emails with Ms. Wilson-Raybould since we met on October 3rd, 2013.

I came to trust her as a valued colleague and friend over the next five and a half years. She taught me a lot about very many things. We had long, thoughtful discussions about dozens and dozens of issues, both professional and personal. She and her husband have had dinner at my house with my wife and our children.

My point is that people may have a caricature in their mind based on media coverage about what a relationship between a minister and PMO staff looks like. This was certainly not that.

But this is not about Jody Wilson-Raybould and Gerald Butts’s friendship or working relationship. It is about the relationship between two of the most important offices in Canada: the one Ms. Wilson-Raybould held, and the one I served. Both carry duties and positive obligations for the people who are lucky enough to occupy them for the brief period of time that they do. Those duties and obligations are no accident. They exist to protect the public interest. I believe her office carries with it a duty for its occupant to inform the Prime Minister of improper behaviour, in writing, at or near the time the behaviour is observed. If the Prime Minister does not do something about it, the Attorney-General should inform the public and resign.

To you, Chair, and to Members of the Committee, I want you to know this. I know it from long personal experience with the Prime Minister: if something improper had been happening, and that impropriety had been made known to him, the Prime Minister would have put a stop to it. Even if the impropriety were his own.

We did what any responsible government would, of any political stripe. We worked as hard as we could, strictly within the laws and conventions of the country, to protect thousands and thousands of Canadian jobs. The Prime Minister did the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons. As did his staff and colleagues.

In closing, I want to say that I deeply regret that the former Minister’s trust and faith in the many colleagues she served alongside for three and a half years has eroded so much. I take my fair share of responsibility for that tragic state of affairs.

But what is happening here is not fair to the people named in her statement. They are good, hard-working people of extraordinary talent and integrity. They care deeply about their country, and they and their families have sacrificed much so they can serve it. I suspect that, like me, they learned of the former Attorney-General’s specific allegations against them for the first time last week, while watching this committee’s proceedings.

It is the highest honour of my professional life to have worked with all of these people, and so many others on so many important matters, for so many years. And yes, I would absolutely include the former Minister among those people.

I bear Ms. Wilson-Raybould no animus, and wish her and her husband Tim well in the future. Most of all, I hope that this sad episode can be resolved quickly, so the people who still have the privilege of being temporary occupants of high public office can get on with their vital work.

In closing, I want to thank the many, many friends who have reached out over the past few weeks. Your kindness is the stuff of life. I hope that what I have said today gives you the context and rationale for my resignation that I could not give you before now. It is one thing to be accused of something on the front page of the paper. It is another to be accused of it by a friend and minister. One happens all the time, the other has never happened to me before.

The Prime Minister and I have been close friends for almost thirty years. That is well known. If I stayed on, his actions or inactions toward me could have been used to accuse him of playing favourites, that he was choosing his best friend over a Minister. I could not allow our friendship to be held against him, so resigning was the right and necessary thing to do for the office, and the Prime Minister.

I appreciate the opportunity to put that on the record, Mr. Chair.

I hope my testimony today will provide the necessary information to allow the people I have worked with on critical issues from climate change to job creation to helping people escape poverty to refocus their energies and efforts on that vital work.

Thank you for all for your patience today, and your years of dedicated public service. I look forward to your questions.

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Yet another viewpoint on legal or illegal.

 

Liberals say they are just trying to protect jobs at SNC-Lavalin. That’s probably illegal

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎6, ‎2019, ‏‎51 minutes ago | Tristin Hopper

In the last week, the Liberal government have been arguing strongly that their actions on SNC-Lavalin were motivated solely by a desire to protect jobs.

“We are always going to stand up for good jobs,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a Monday press conference in P.E.I. Five times before the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday, former prime minister adviser Gerald Butts said his actions were motivated by the threat of job losses.

“When 9,000 people’s jobs are at stake, it is a public policy problem of the highest order,” Butts said.

But this point, more than any other, may be bolstering the case that Trudeau and his staff strayed outside the law in pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to defer charges against SNC-Lavalin.

Under section 715.32(3) of the Criminal Code, prosecutors are forbidden to consider the “national economic interest” in deciding whether to grant certain deferred prosecution agreements, including the one that was being sought for SNC-Lavalin. According to Jody Wilson-Raybould’s sworn testimony last Wednesday, she was explicitly told to seek a DPA for SNC-Lavalin because of the potential “jobs lost.”

"I think fundamentally the question that is behind this entire story is whether or not we're in favour, as a government, to protect 9,000 jobs," says @melaniejoly on the SNC-Lavalin controversy #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/JRIyhiB7yY

— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) March 5, 2019

 

“The prime minister asked me to help out to find a solution here for SNC, citing that if there is no DPA, there would be many jobs lost and that SNC would move from Montreal,” Wilson-Raybould said.

The “national economic interests” measure is quite new to the Criminal Code and was introduced by Trudeau’s own government. The specific text comes from the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which has been signed and ratified by Canada – and for which compliance is monitored by the OECD.

As a result, any contravention of 715.32(3) may not just constitute a breach of a Criminal Code provision, but of Canadian participation in an international agreement that is specifically designed to quash judicial favouritism of a country’s own corporations.

“It does seem remarkably tone deaf on the part of the government if they really were harping (on Wilson-Raybould) to this extent, knowing full well what the law says,” said Jennifer Quaid, an expert on corporate criminal liability at the University of Ottawa.

If the OECD determined that Canada was making prosecutorial decisions for economic reasons “we would risk that Canadian companies would not get the benefit of equivalent provisions in other OECD countries, chiefly the U.S. and the U.K.,” she said.

The section is only meant to govern the actions of prosecutors and doesn’t prescribe any fines or jail time if the guidelines aren’t followed. If a prosecutor is found to have granted a deferred prosecution agreement due to the “national economic interest,” the worst outcome is that the agreement would be invalidated by a judge.

But a case could be made that Trudeau might have strayed into unlawful territory by telling Wilson-Raybould to effectively act outside Criminal Code guidelines.

Why punish 9000 people for something done in Libya a decade ago. It makes no sense. Do I detect a little Québec-bashing here?

— Hon. Sheila Copps (@Sheila_Copps) March 5, 2019

 

“Knowingly counselling a prosecutor to violate his/her legal duties could be considered an attempt to obstruct justice, which is an offence under the Criminal Code,” said Gerry Ferguson, a distinguished professor of law at the University of Victoria.

The Criminal Code also sets out possible jail terms for anyone who “contravenes an Act of Parliament.”

“It may not violate the Criminal Code, but it violates the rule of law,” said University of British Columbia law professor Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, noting that Wilson-Raybould appears to have been counselled to consider something “explicitly prohibited.”

“You’re trying to influence (Wilson-Raybould) to make a decision based on a factor that has already been taken off the table.”

Given its newness, the “national economic interests” provision has never been tested before a court and there are a host of possible defences available to Trudeau and his staff.

“The section outlines what factors a prosecutor cannot consider in making their decision, but does not cover what information other people can put before them,” said constitutional lawyer Nicolas Rouleau.

“We believe in the independence of the judiciary and we believe in fighting for good jobs and we will always do that in the right way,” says @JustinTrudeau when asked Globe report that @Puglaas faced pressure from the PMO to help SNC-Lavalin out of its legal troubles #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/zP6zogjf61

— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) February 21, 2019

 

Adding to the complication is that the Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General is the same person. If Trudeau had been talking about SNC-Lavalin job losses to Wilson-Raybould the justice minister, nothing unseemly would have been done. It only starts to become questionable if he’s asking Wilson-Raybould as the country’s top prosecutor to think about job losses.

It could also be argued that trying to protect jobs isn’t an economic interest so much as a social one. In a recent column in iPolitics, constitutional scholar Errol Mendes wrote that while SNC-Lavalin charges cannt be deferred for economic reasons, “the huge personal damage to innocents such as employees from an implosion of the company can legitimately be viewed as a non-economic consideration.”

At the very least, Trudeau could argue that 9,000 jobs in Quebec are a regional concern, and don’t technically qualify as a “national economic interest.”

Quaid calls Trudeau’s action “very odd” given the substance of 715.32(3), but does not see enough grounds for an obstruction of justice charge.

“The sanction here is political, not criminal,” she said. “I could not see a prosecutor wanting to bring those charges to trial.”

• Twitter: TristinHopper | Email: thopper@nationalpost.com

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March 6, 2019 12:03 pm

Updated: March 6, 2019 2:44 pm

‘Canada’s golden boy loses his shine’: Headlines from around the world on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin

katie_dangerfield_220x260px.jpg?quality= By Katie Dangerfield National Online Journalist, Breaking News  Global News
 

As many Canadians tuned into Gerald Butt’s testimony on the SNC-Lavalin affair Wednesday — eyes across the world also seem to be watching the controversy unfold.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary testified before the Commons justice committee, defending the Prime Minister Office’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin case. It came almost a week after former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould testified, saying she faced political pressure from Trudeau’s party to prevent SNC-Lavalin from facing a criminal trial.

READ MORE: Gerald Butts says ‘grey area’ between political staff, Wilson-Raybould on SNC-Lavalin affair

The controversy has created a political frenzy in Canada, and even from the international community. From the Washington Post, the BBC to the Le Monde, many media outlets are questioning if Trudeau’s party will survive October’s federal election.

Here are a few headlines from around the world.

The New York Times: ‘Oh, Trudeau’

The New York Times published an op-ed Tuesday called ‘Oh, Trudeau.’ The paper’s editorial board looks at how the SNC-Lavalin affair will rock the Trudeau government seven months before Canada’s next election.

It examined how Trudeau came to office in 2015 “by the high road” with a cabinet filled with women and minorities and a willingness to open Canada’s doors to immigrants.

“But in politics the fresher the face, the more obvious the blemishes,” the op-stated.

READ MORE: Trudeau’s 2015 gender-equal cabinet makes headlines around world, social media

“Looked at from south of the Canadian border, the entire matter may seem trivial alongside any of the many accusations levied at President Trump, or of the pressures routinely applied by politicians on behalf of powerful companies.

“But in Canada, the tangled SNC-Lavalin affair is unavoidably measured against the expectations Mr. Trudeau raised and the standards he set. For him to be accused by two prominent women from his team of violating the high ethical bar he himself set is a major blow, at the least to his brand.”

WATCH: New poll could be trouble for Trudeau

web_baldrey_-_butts_848x480_1452775491795.jpg?w=670&quality=70&strip=all

Fox News: ‘Hyprocite Justin Trudeau caught doing what he accuses Trump of doing’

On Monday, Fox News published an opinion piece called, “Hyprocite Justin Trudeau caught doing what he accuses Trump of doing.” The piece looks at how Trudeau has handled the SNC-Lavalin controversy with a comparison to U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Forget the faux-scandals about Trump. There’s a real scandal in our holier-than-thou northern neighbor,” states the article on the U.S. network’s web site.

READ MORE: Most Canadians side with Wilson-Raybould, believe Trudeau has lost moral authority to govern: Ipsos poll

“After all the preening and moralizing from Trudeau and members of his cabinet, after all their smirks about the Trump administration, it’s nice to see their hypocrisy exposed to all the world by a brave lady.”

Washington Post: ‘Justin Trudeau’s rise to power seemed charmed. Now he faces a fight for his political life’

The Washington Post published a news story Tuesday, titled “Justin Trudeau’s rise to power seemed charmed. Now he faces a fight for his political life.”

The article looks into the prime minister’s rise to power as a “press-whispering, selfie-snapping progressive icon who promised transparency and went viral for promoting women.”

But amid the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the article questions whether Trudeau will hold on to his majority government in the upcoming election.

“Whatever happens, Trudeau’s rock star status seems like a thing of the past.”

WATCH: Andrew Scheer calls on Justin Trudeau to resign as prime minister

2019-02-28T00-34-30.6Z--1280x720.jpg?w=670&quality=70&strip=all

Foreign Policy: ‘Canada’s Golden Boy Loses His Shine’

Global media outlet Foreign Policy published a story by Ottawa-based journalist Justin Ling called “Canada’s Golden Boy Loses His Shine” that looks at how Trudeau is facing the “most tumultuous moment of his political career.”

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has had a relatively smooth four years in office. Most of his scandals and controversies were insignificant, forgettable, or easily spun — like when he accepted a helicopter ride from the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims, which violated parliamentary ethics rules. But this affair won’t be so easily smoothed over,” stated the story, published Monday.

READ MORE: Trudeau expected to change his tone on SNC-Lavalin affair in a statement in coming days

“Trudeau is now playing defense,” the U.S.-based publication says. “The prime minister is already down a justice minister, his treasury board minister, and a right-hand man. If the bleeding continues, Trudeau may find himself retracing his father’s footsteps in the snow.”

BBC: ‘Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould: The crisis that could unseat Canada’s PM’

On Monday, the BBC published an explainer piece called “Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould: The crisis that could unseat Canada’s PM.”

“Trudeau’s longtime friend and principal secretary Gerald Butts has already resigned. Many speculate that other top officials that Wilson-Raybould named may follow.”

“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’.”

WATCH: Canadians will ‘have a choice’ in 2019 election, Morneau says

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CNN: ‘Trudeau: Crisis deepens as second minister quits’

CNN dove into the SNC-Lavalin scandal Tuesday, with an article called, “Trudeau: Crisis deepens as second minister quits.”

The article states that the controversy threatens to engulf Trudeau’s Liberal party ahead of the federal election. It also mentions that the SNC-Lavalin affair comes at “an unfortunate time” for Trudeau, who is currently facing a full-blown diplomatic crisis with China amid the Huawei spat.

The Guardian: ‘The scandal that could bring down Justin Trudeau’

The Guardian published an explainer video Monday, which looks at how Trudeau’s Liberal party could be brought down amid the SNC-Lavalin case.

Australian Broadcasting Corp: ‘Justin Trudeau, the internet’s favourite Prime Minister, finds himself mixed up in a scandal’

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. published a piece Feb. 15 that questioned if Trudeau will be able to overcome the SNC-Lavalin scandal before the October election.

“He’s starred in countless memes and viral videos, but this week Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau found himself cast in a less comfortable role: the subject of a scandal that could damage his Government during an election year,” the article stated.

Le Monde: ‘In Canada, Justin Trudeau experiences an unprecedented political crisis’

French newspaper Le Monde, published an article Tuesday called “In Canada, Justin Trudeau experiences an unprecedented political crisis,” examining the Liberal’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair and calling it an “unprecedented” political crisis that is shaking Trudeau.

“The blow is hard for Mr. Trudeau, less than seven months ahead of legislative elections,” the story stated.

Al Jazeera: ‘Rule of Law in the Trudeau era’

On Feb. 18, Al Jazzera published an op-ed by Canadian journalist Andrew Mitrovica that looks into how the SNC-Lavalin scandal could destroy the Liberal Party.

The piece said after the 2015 election, Trudeau’s government talked about “transparency,” “feminism,” “equality” and the “rule of law.”

WATCH: ‘We are a country of rule and law’ Trudeau on Meng extradition

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“Now Canadians have learned that translates into mostly white, male, unelected officials who make up Trudeau’s inner orbit — known as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) — using their power reportedly to ‘pressure’ the country’s first female Indigenous justice minister to let a big, powerful, scandal-plagued, Quebec-based engineering company off the criminal hook,” the article stated.

“The veil has slipped and Trudeau et al may be headed back to the gulag come the next general election in October.”

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