Scheer assails Trudeau after ethics report, urges police to probe SNC-Lavalin case

Ethics commissioner says PM violated conflict of interest law in pressuring Jody Wilson-Raybould

In this file photo, ethics commissioner Mario Dion waits to appear before the Commons estimates committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

In this file photo, ethics commissioner Mario Dion waits to appear before the Commons estimates committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says there’s now more than enough evidence of misconduct by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the SNC-Lavalin affair to warrant an investigation by the RCMP.

Scheer was responding to a new report by ethics commissioner Mario Dion, who says Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt the criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant.

The Conservative leader calls Trudeau’s conduct “unforgivable” and says Canadians can no longer believe anything the prime minister says, and that they will hold him responsible when they go to the polls Oct. 21.

Dion concluded Trudeau’s attempts to influence Wilson-Raybould contravened section 9 of the act, which prohibits public office holders from using their position to try to influence a decision that would improperly further the private interests of a third party.

He says SNC-Lavalin’s financial interests would have been furthered had the decision by the director of public prosecutions — who refused to offer the Montreal engineering giant a remediation agreement in order to avoid a criminal prosecution on fraud charges related to contracts in Libya — been reversed.

The report also says Trudeau improperly pushed Wilson-Raybould to consider partisan political interests in the matter, contrary to constitutional principles on prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.

“He may never face a court of law, but he will have to face the Canadian people over the next few weeks,” Scheer told a news conference in Regina. “We just can’t believe anything this guy says anymore.”

Wilson-Raybould quit Trudeau’s cabinet in February over the affair; friend and cabinet ally Jane Philpott resigned soon after.

Trudeau subsequently kicked both women out of the Liberal caucus, and they are now running for re-election as independent candidates. Both said Wednesday they were still reading the report and would not comment until they’ve read it in its entirety.

RELATED: No regrets in SNC-Lavalin affair, Wilson-Raybould and Philpott say

Trudeau’s political rivals, all of whom are jockeying for position with the start of an election campaign now just weeks away, wasted little time in seizing on what appeared to be a golden opportunity.

“Justin Trudeau said he would be accountable and ethical. Instead he used the power of his office to reward his supporters and punish his critics,” Scheer posted on Twitter within an hour of the report’s release.

“He is now the only PM in history to be found guilty of breaking federal ethics law not once, but twice.”

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus described the report as a “political bombshell.”

“The prime minister’s fundamental job to Canadians is to assure them that the rule of law will be respected,” Angus said. “I can’t think of a precedent of this happening before. The prime minister has been found guilty of a very, very serious interference in the legal processes of Canada.”

Dion also made a point of noting that due to the confidentiality obligations that govern cabinet documents and discussions — obligations that were partially waived by the Prime Minister’s Office at the height of the scandal, to allow Wilson-Raybould to testify — he wasn’t able to access all the necessary materials.

READ MORE: Five things in Wilson-Raybould’s written evidence on the SNC-Lavalin affair

“The decision made by the Privy Council Office to deny our office access to a full range of cabinet confidences meant nine witnesses were constrained in providing our office with the full body of evidence potentially relevant to the examination,” he wrote.

“I believe that decisions relating to my access to such information should be made transparently and democratically by Parliament, not by the very same public office holders who are subject to the regime I administer.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trevor Davis, base manager of the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation in Sidney, stands in front of the Hecate Sentinal, an oil skimming vessel based at Sidney’s Van Isle Marina. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Oil spill response base taking shape on Saanich Peninsula

Enhanced base with elements in North Saanich and Sidney to be fully operational in fall 2022

The O’Meara family – (left to right) Mari, Max, Adam and Rei – spent Saturday afternoon picking out the perfect tree. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Santa’s Forest tree sale in Saanich implements one-way perusing, curbside pick up

Christmas tree, wreath sales in Braefoot Park through Dec. 24

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

(Black Press Media file)
Webinars help Greater Victoria residents affected by dementia prepare for the holidays

COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions can add additional challenges for people living with dementia

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read