Skip to content
-0.6 °Cforecast >
Mostly Cloudy
Jobs | Contact | Tip line: 705-673-0123

SNC-Lavalin affair: Ethics commish finds Trudeau breached Conflict of Interest Act

Mario Dion finds the prime minister contravened Section 9 of the act
0
Trudeau
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion released the Trudeau II Report on Aug. 14, which found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau contravened section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act. (File)

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion released the Trudeau II Report on Aug. 14, an examination of the allegation that the prime minister sought to influence the Attorney General of Canada in her decision on whether to intervene in a criminal prosecution involving SNC-Lavalin.

You can view Dion's full report here.

After reviewing evidence and several fundamental legal and constitutional principles related to this matter, Dion said he found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau contravened Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act.

Commissioner Dion determined that, as the PM, Trudeau was the only public office holder able to exert influence over the attorney general in her decision whether to intervene in a matter relating to a criminal prosecution.

He also found that other senior officials within the Prime Minister's Office were directed by the prime minister to find a solution using a deferred prosecution agreement in the criminal matter involving SNC-Lavalin.

"The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson-Raybould," said Dion.

"The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson-Raybould as the Crown's chief law officer."

Trudeau's stated position in the matter was that he was concerned about the issue of potential job losses and the repercussions to the company's employees, pensioners and shareholders. 

Trudeau's overall aim was to consult with the attorney general to ensure that she had properly considered the option of negotiating a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin. The prime minister and his senior officials subsequently sought over a period of many months to have Wilson-Raybould overrule the director of public prosecutions' decision not to enter into negotiations towards a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin. 

Dion found these senior officials, who included both senior ministerial staff and public officials, would not have acted without a full and clear appreciation of how the prime minister wanted the situation handled.

In the report findings, Dion reviewed how private and public interests can take many forms, including financial or political. This led him to conclude that SNC-Lavalin's considerable private financial interests would undoubtedly have been furthered had Trudeau successfully influenced the attorney general in her decision to overturn the director of public prosecutions' decision relating to the company. 

Dion also found that partisan political interests were improperly put to the attorney general for consideration in the matter, contrary to longstanding constitutional principles relating to prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.

"The time it takes to complete an examination depends on a number of factors and we always strive to complete investigations within reasonable timelines so that they remain relevant," said Dion. "The office conducts investigations under my direction both thoroughly and with proper diligence."




Comments