Ethics commissioner investigating PMO over SNC-Lavalin | Power & Politics
Ethics commissioner investigating PMO over SNC-Lavalin | Power & Politics Controversy surrounding snc-lavalin devil Edge, political interference in the company’s bribery trial is now the subject of an Ethics investigation. Today, the ethics Watchdog launched a probe following a request from the opposition. Prime minister Justin Trudeau says he welcomes it. Again. find a hear. Anyone in his office directed his former Justice minister to seek a plea deal and avoid a criminal trial for snc-lavalin, the cbc’s David Carpenter to break it all down for us cuz. We heard from the Prime Minister today Andrew sure and jug meet sings. Let’S start with the Prime Minister, what did he have to say, prime minister, on questions about his reaction to the ethics Commissioners? Examination investigation? He says he welcomes the ethics commissioner’s investigation talking to people in his office. They feel that it will clear them, but welcoming the investigation of the ethics commission or something this government has said a little bit too often properly for their liking in an election year. Could you go back to the Agha Khan island vacation? You go back to Gilmore nail in the sailors, Discord, the corporate ownership of a village and a villa in France, not a village and also just taken away from a plant in Newfoundland, Labrador and given to a company with family Connections in New Brunswick. So here we go again with this one, but he also said today that he had spoken with Jody wilson-raybould twice in the last 24 hours he was in Vancouver. Today he spoke with her for about 30 minutes. He got there yesterday on told and again for about 45 minutes this morning, and it was in that conversation that the Prime Minister says his former attorney-general reminded him of a conversation. They had a bicycle Evelyn earlier this year. Here’S what he said I have thought met with Minister wilson-raybould a couple of times already since arriving in DC. Yesterday we spoke about our shared goals for our country and for this government she confirm for me a conversation we had this fall, where I told her directly that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions. We’re hers alone. I respect your view that, due to privilege, she cannot comment or add-on set recently before the media, and I also highlight that we’re Bound by cabinet confidentiality, okay, so they’re about a conversation he had with Jody wilson-raybould last year on told that this happened in the weeks Prior to the federal prosecutor telling snc-lavalin, we will not be cutting this deal with you. You will not get a deferred-prosecution agreement and then question we have with. Why did he feel the need to reassure her if he denies all the allegations in the Global Mail reported? Last week that she was under pressure from his office, the I have been given by senior government official is that it was the climate of pressure, snc-lavalin, ferociously logging, everyone from MPS to the clerk to the ambassador to the US for the prime minister’s office, and they Wanted to reassure Jody wilson-raybould that, despite all the people paying attention to this and pull or they’re peeing on this, that it was her decision alone, they insist adamantly that was not anything to do with any pressure from the prime minister’s office itself makes a pointy reference That track record that I talked about, that there have been a series of Investigations into the contact of top government officials and a half and gone will hear what you said today near Brunswick. This is the same prime minister, who said there was nothing wrong with. There is nothing on with having a minister hand out special contracts to family members, so I don’t feel part of me if I don’t take just yours word. I think it’s time you know we heard today the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said that he spoke to Jody wilson-raybould and he reported nature of those conversations for Justin Trudeau to stop speaking for Jodi and let and let her speak for herself think a lot of people Covering this might agree with that last day that we don’t like to hear from Jody wilson-raybould. She has not spoken buddy today, notably not present with the Prime Minister today at the announcement made in Vancouver, even though other cabinet ministers and MP’s works chaparosa. Can you just confirm that that is in fact what happened in the meeting that, in our conversations a I haven’t, heard anything back spots, maybe not on the terms that they wanted, but under under other term, section 9 of the conflict-of-interest back there doing the conservatives in The call for getting this before the Justice committee and calling on the government to waive its host for client privilege to allow Jody wilson-raybould and everyone else to feet me to head today. We wants the Gulf of the government’s go beyond that. We want them to waive solicitor-client privilege. We want the government and shoot Euro to allow the Justice committee to ask questions about what’s going on because at the end, incorporation, that’s pressure, this government to change the laws to create a loophole, so they don’t actually face criminal sanction. So he’s happy with the decision by the ethics commissioner, but like the conservatives, he wants us to go before the Justice committee and they’ve also got some liberals support on this way song A New Brunswick Member of Parliament, the liberal said he would like to see the Justice committee go ahead with this. As for the question of waving solicitor-client privilege, the Prime Minister has asked attorney general, the new Attorney General David limited to give him some advice on that David limit. He was asked about this many times today and to give us a, can you have no comment and no in both official languages, we have no answer in English and he joins me now via Skype from Montreal nice to see. If, thanks for your time, welive convening meeting for Wednesday of all of the members of the Justice committee at the request of the conservative in an NDP members, and we will look into whether or not we would be helpful in the process, I have said from the Beginning that I am open to the idea divided that we find that a partisan house committee is a good vehicle to get answers, as opposed to being the show that question. Is, for example, vaschy the conservative, an engineer NDP member on the committee, emotion without consulting any Delivery members, we heard from the call the call for a meeting from the leader of the opposition in a press conference and not in dialogue with us. So part of my concern relates to will the committee look at it appropriately? It is non-partisan and helps the Canadian people further their understanding of this issue and hopefully clarifies matters or will it become a question. Exercise which would be useless. You are coming at it, though you’re the chair of the committee from your own partisan slant as well. So how will you define what is appropriate, believe the prime minister to believe that there’s nothing nothing there that can serve as an NDP on the committee would be hopeful that there would be something there to help in the election. So the question is: is a house committee and appropriate vehicle but sounds like you think it already isn’t, though, then the question: isn’t there a better vehicle? That’S my question. Take the prime minister’s word for this and if we’re able to shed light on these allegations in a healthful non-partisan way, if we can find a way to do that, then I’m not close to the idea. That’S that’s what my colleagues and I need to ponder over the next couple of days. I’M listening to a lot of people. Talk to me about it and and and we’d have to find a way to agree on terms that that would be helpful to get answers for Canadians as opposed to having people try to score political points at the committee. Many of these types of committee meetings – you have the ability of parliamentarians to call these figures who we normally wouldn’t would not be able to hear from us Canadians they’re, so I don’t know what better vehicle like what other vehicle is there to compel people who, like Michael Warnock, to 2 to talk before before parliamentary, I don’t know what other vehicle might be available to you. The first thing is that ministers are not compatible. Ministers will come if they want. We can’t force them to come and I think the real key here, of course, is Jody wilson-raybould and what she has to stay, because I think that’s what Canadians are really waiting to hear. But he said I think our committee, as opposed to question., As if she did a lot of great things by working together, I mean brought forward. I agree to a proposal to reinstate 4 challenges program by forward report on how to improve things for jurors in Canada. Ability to work together, which is why I am questioning the way that conserves in the NDP in this case, acted very partisan Lane by putting forward emotion. What do you consult with the Liberals and didn’t even advise if they wanted to call a meeting when I never refused to call a meeting of the committee requested it so I’m starting from a I never had a problem calling a meeting. I don’t hear about it and use your press conference. Normally we work together on motions and we talk to each other about whether or not we’re going to agree or find common ground. In this case, we didn’t have any input into the motion they’re, putting forward that you might be more apt to support I’m just tryna tryna get out here all avenues. I am not close to this because I understand the Canadian 1 answers. I believe the Prime Minister. I think these are onions sources with no names to them that are making allegations that a standard was violated in anytime. That standard is violated. The Attorney General resign in this. Not only did she not resigned, she still in cabinet Wilson rebuild is not an nào tốt. Our our our caucus caucus members and listening to Canadians and – and I think that that is a question – and I think that’s why it is she came forward right – would be useless. So I hope the next couple of days, she’ll she’ll, come forward and just acknowledged exactly what Mr the medicine with the Prime Minister said, is that there was no undue pressure or Direction given to her in this case. That would put it into it. Ask me the point: the minister has made the point that she doesn’t want to make a comment because of solicitor-client privilege. Do you think? Do you not agree with that argument? Do you think that should be waived? What is it background or knowledge that the Department of Justice can have when he advised me to? My only comment is one that I made before is that minister leonetti is answer that very question of whether or not there was direction or or pressure put upon him, and if he can answer that question without waiving privilege as two other matters. Why can’t mr. Wilson, labeled, as we’ve been discussing the opposition, is demanding this case be heard by the Justice committee? The conservatives are threatening to use legal tools if the government stone walls, then what are those tools and why isn’t an Ethics probe enough Lisa rated? The deputy leader of the conservative party find us now from Fredericton and Nathan. Colin is NDP democratic reform critic with me here in Ottowa hi, to both of you great to see you.. I really appreciate your time to pick up first on what what we just discussed with mr. house father, he seemed to really be fixated. The idea of whether or not the committee this week will be partisan in the way in which they they look at at this issue, whether that in deciding, if they should investigate or not, or they should listen to call people to testify before a committee. What do you make of what he I don’t understand, what he’s trying to get at Dashie? To be honest, I I I did listen intently, trying to understand what the chair had to say, because obviously, the chairs going to set the standard on Wednesday that I’m going to have to argue to in order to convince the people around the table. We should indeed have a study at the Justice committee and I think we got a lot of evidence as to why we should now, if he’s going, to talk about the process by which it happened, he’s missing the whole point I mean the whole point of this: Is there is an Ethics investigation, that’s going to happen, congratulation to Nathan and Charlie in the NDP for bringing that forward, and the other point is that this just gets murkier by the minute. I mean I listen to the Prime Minister this afternoon and I’m even more confused than ever about what conversations happened at what time. Why did the price Mister feel the need to assure his Minister that there was no pressure on her? Was there pressure on her? Let’S just get to the bottom of it all and figure out, what’s happening the process of partisan right from the beginning that this didn’t happen to the quote-unquote normal way that this kind of a committee committee question would be looked at. Do you think it’s normal to the allegations that the prime minister’s office interfere with a criminal investigation by pressuring the Attorney General? I don’t think that’s normal and I think the fact that we reacted so quickly. Is it because it goes to the heart of what our justice system is all about now, if, if Anthony wants to call this as being partisan a nature, I would not say as part of the nature, I think it’s getting out there and defending the interests of The Canadian public, as soon as we possibly could, and that’s what we did now we’ll talk about it on Wednesday. But I’ll tell you something. I don’t think Canadians will be impressed that the Liberals., because it’s too partisan that they’re not going to take a look at this issue, Canadian, want to know what exactly is going on between the prime minister’s office and these other entities that are carrying out our Justice. Mr. cologne and your response to that same criticism, part of the way and that has concerned for it being not the best vehicle because of partisanship incursion witches. Somebody from the prime minister’s office went to the Attorney General’s office and put pressure on the Attorney General to get a plea deal for a large multinational corporation so that they could avoid sentencing which would have prevented them from bidding on massive live government contracts. That’S that’s the case that we’re starting with. We also would love to hear from Jody wilson-raybould. You know who has the power to do that? Justin, Trudeau or he simply says to her iWave solicitor-client privilege. You can speak about the conversations you had with regard s & c and what you saw, those conversations as and we clear this up and when you ask the new attorney-general, did you ask the old attorney general did anything happen? He says I’ve never spoken to her about it, maybe making him the least curious attorney general in Canadian history, because if there has been an obstruction of justice General’s office from a government who claims that the Court’s need to be respected and the rule of law is Paramount for this government in this country didn’t have that allegation sitting there and the current attorney general without asking the principal person involved. What happened? I don’t see anything to investigate. I heard the Prime Minister use one distinct word over and over again, and that’s enough for me, as the top prosecutor in Canada is giving me even more concern. Look liberal should be interested in getting to the bottom of what happened. The way that we do, that is invite the people in front of committee and I’ve seen this committee and many other House of Commons committees work together to get stuff done on behalf of Canadians here from the principal Secretary of the Prime Minister. Here from the clerk of the privy Council, what is your version of events? Did you feel, like you put pressure on the Attorney General? They can tell us whatever they liked and then we can get to the bottom of this and know that either clear the way or find out that there’s more involved, both you and, of course not. We need because we need to hear from the Witnesses in an open fashion as to exactly what happened. I mean this came to light on the front page of the Globe and Mail. Canadians are now engaged in the issue like it or not. There was, there was a cover to cover coverage all week on this particular issue, and constituents want to know what happened. The best way to do it is to have it, as Nathan said in front of this Justice committee, where people can come in and tell us what happened instead of behind the scenes with the ethics commissioner, which will take 18 month. Quite frankly, and we don’t get to see what the witnesses have to say, I think you know a little bit of sunshine on this is going to be the best disinfectant, since this is the best way to do it. The government that, when they came into office, said they would be open by default. They do the most transparent government in Canadian history and as we go through, what is everybody agrees? These allegations are serious, they’re not substantiate add yet, and that’s what we’re trying to do. The ethics commissioner can look at one very small part of the act in this to whether a third-party was influenced but you’ve seen his rulings before it’s more public, shaming than it is at there’s a small Financial penalty when he found Mr Trudeau, Mister, Morneau and Dominic Leblanc guilty of breaking the ethics code. That was that’s important and fine for us all to be held to that accounted. Those three were found guilty in those cases, but the fine is increment. Not very large. Is a Justice committee come look at this properly and I denied appeal to mr. house father on the Liberals on that committee, where you sent here to do a job on behalf of Canadians. Corruption starts and is allowed to flourish when we’re not holding government. To account simply say all. This is all a partisan activity. He did say he had questions, because these are the people we would like to hear from and when liberals were looking into the right, the affair in the last government. They were just as Keen as we are right now to find out what exactly happened. In a case that was very suspicious to Canadians and prove to be of some substance and last name., She is the letter we got from the ethics Commission of this morning. People are worried that there’s stamp confidential on it. We checked with the ethics commissioner’s office before we made that public they’re their commissioners office, said you’re allowed to make this public, and then we did. We think more light on this. Not less is important and allow him to do his investigation and we can work in tandem. This is under investigation. We can’t talk about it. This is before the courts. We got to find out what happened here. I think it’s important to Canadian of SNCC are those legitimate concerns that could have prompted conversations about the file, not according to what’s in the ACT. According to what Zodiac that’s legislation that was slipped into the budget Omnibus Bill is that the prosecutor is not to take economic trust into consideration when they make their decision. She didn’t they’re, arguing that in court right now. I think it’s telling that the prosecutor actually said that she needs to be free from political interference and her decision-making and the Court’s going to make it a judgment. There also happening in quarto 2 that she reported on a CBC is the fact that there’s another allegation that there’s political interference in the case of the Mark Norman trial and we’re going to be following that as well. We’Ve been following it very carefully, but now another allegation of PCO being in the room having a discussion on trial strategy with the prosecutor’s when PCO is the individual or the entity, that’s choosing Which documents are going to be released to Mark Normand it. It just doesn’t make like who’s inches. This isn’t about jobs. This was about a large multinational lobbying, this government more than 50 times the last 18 months for this change, which they got and then the prime minister’s office may have asked the AG to give him a plea deal when she refused. She seems to have been dismissed. There’S not., we don’t have any other reason why he fired his attorney general in his Justice Minister and liberal, see nothing worth Canadian say it seems to be painting a that’s because all of us concerned even liberals on that Justice committee. The Canadians can continue to have confidence in our system and that’s why I welcome the ethics commissioner has interest in this matter. It’S also why I have asked the Justice minister to look in and to make recommendations to me complex matter of solicitor, private client privilege and a political interference in the company’s bribery trial is now the subject of an Ethics investigation. Today, the ethics Watchdog launched, following a request from the opposition: here’s a quick summary of the allegations involving the pmo former Justice Minister, Jody wilson-raybould and snc-lavalin. The Montreal firm is Canada’s largest engineering and construction company and it cuz what’s been described as the greatest case of corruption, fraud in Canadian history. It’S alleged that between 2001 and 2011 SMC by public officials in Libya with millions of dollars in order to secure government contracts, the RCMP laid charges in 2015. Today, snc argues, those responsible are no longer working for the company and it has beefed up its ethics and compliance rules. That’S why is NC have been pushing for a DP a deferred-prosecution agreement. Instead, This option became available back in September. It’S kind of like a plea. Bargain charges are dropped if the accused they admit to wrongdoing or pays a big, fine or cooperate with authority, but the Globe and Mail reports that, in October, Canada’s director of public prosecutions shut the door on snc’s requests for a DPA. That’S when officials from Justin Trudeau’s office allegedly turn to Jody wilson-raybould, then Justice, minister, who reportedly refused to pressure the prosecution office to change its mine in January wilson-raybould, was shuffled out of her cabinet position. So how often do cases like this come up in the prime minister’s office and who’s involved in those discussion? Male calf is the former Clerk of the privy Council and currently teaches at the Munk School of global Affairs and public policy at the University of Toronto. To see you thanks for your time, understand for those who don’t know what exactly the clerk of the privy Council does like what is the basic function, two or three hats that the council, which is like the deputy minister to the Prime Minister, their secretary to which Is an accountability to the entire cabinet and there’s the public service? All three functions are combined versus actual ministers has a few functions that are actually statutory unspecified, but by and large the clerk speaks with the voice of the Prime Minister, and it depends on the confides and confers power and authority on the 13th and the clerk and Speak with the prime minister’s voice, if the Prime Minister merely uses the clerk has, the clerk will merely speak to the Prime Minister, but in my experience, and certainly wasn’t the way it appears to me now. The Prime Minister and the clerk have a partnership in effect, and so the the prime minister in the Prime Minister may ask the clerk to speak on his behalf to ministers, Deputy ministers or the public was speaking very much and others where they were not speaking on The prime minister’s bo4 not never speaks in such a manner that would have for someone not to understand that it was on the plan on behalf of the Prime Minister. It is understood by every clerk I’ve known that when they speak, the danger is, if it’s not a power that they will actually be interpreted. As speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister, the understanding is everyone who establishes in what capacity? Is it the clerk that says? I’M talking to you in this respect on this subject or how does that work? It could be. It really depends on the style of McClurkin on the style of the Prime Minister, but it was. It would be very normal for the prime minister to say: I’ve asked the clerk to do this and you would tell the cabinet that, or particular minister, the clerk to go and speak to a minister on his behalf. I, when I was clerk. I had many a minister come and talk to me about what how they had got the prime minister to agree with them about something. Most often, we had a little line. That was that they must have Ford in the prime minister’s right here. Prime minister Crouch, I was deaf in his right ear. Would it be at the directions to prime minister Organa sat situationally dependent that it was fairly regular occurrence every sure will preside the meeting, but the clerk will be in the room and will use the occasion to do some business with other ministers and vice-versa ministers will Approach the at the clerk will undoubtedly convey those views to the prime minister. That’S the natural course of doing business, personal relationships that are important to the functioning of government. Can they take from where you said it really depends on the circumstance some ministers will take will call for me: ask for a meeting with the Prime Minister. Some will speak to the clerk and say you should tell the Prime Minister this. They mites to the prime minister’s chief of staff for principal secretary and say you should be aware of that and that there’s a whole array of different instruments that ministers have, which would include a letter to the prime minister. Go to someone not going to be very formal way of dealing with. It always want to signal in advance that you had a preoccupation or concern. Normally, I would say it depends on whether you’re dealing with a statutory function of a minister or their typical responsibilities. As a cabinet minister in a cabinet Steve that a clerk, for example, should, if called before a parliamentary committee like in this case, for example, there’s talk of calling clerk before the Justice Committee in your experience as clerk, would you feel it necessary to to attend to That word, I was invited on several occasions to speak before a parliamentary committees in particular on what was then the anti-terrorism ACT absolutely took the invitation seriously and did myself appear other 900 other clerks have done so both before man sense. If someone pushed back, I won’t deal with that issue, and so it’s not for the clerks to disclose capping a confidences, but neither is it for the clerk to refuse on principle that he should not appear. On the other hand, the Prime Minister might well want to stand in the way and say that the product is the wrong person to appear that the minister is the one who’s responsible and should deal with it. Federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion will investigate claims that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.
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