St. Catharines, ON – This morning, Andrew Scheer, the Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and the Official Opposition, sent the below letter to the RCMP Commissioner regarding the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal:
I am following up on my correspondence of February 28, wherein I wrote to you to draw your attention to troubling events related to Justin Trudeau’s attempts to interfere in the criminal trial of SNC-Lavalin.
You will recall I noted at the time that Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former Attorney General of Canada, confirmed in testimony to Parliament that there were “veiled threats” of consequences from Trudeau and his office if she did not overrule the Director of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP) decision not to award a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) to SNC-Lavalin.
In other words, Ms. Wilson-Raybould would be punished for refusing the bend to Trudeau’s political will and SNC-Lavalin’s financial interests.
Canadians learned last week that the RCMP have begun looking into this situation and interviewing those implicated. This was most certainly a welcome revelation, as many Canadians are keenly interested in how Trudeau will be held accountable.
Criminal investigations are, of course, entirely within your purview. I wish only to note, as I did in February, that it is contrary to section 139 of the Criminal Code for anybody to “obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice.”
As you know, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has released an extraordinarily detailed report into this matter.
The Commissioner’s report represents independent and incontrovertible confirmation of Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s Parliamentary testimony, while also introducing several previously unknown facts to the case.
Therefore, it must be regarded as the most important piece of evidence in this matter.
There are several elements of the report that would be relevant to any investigation that you may undertake in this matter.
The Commissioner stated “The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson-Raybould. 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.”
On a plain reading of the language used by the Commissioner, Trudeau’s actions would fall within the contours of “obstructing, perverting or defeating the course of justice.” As the report makes clear, he specifically undertook a campaign to do just that in respect of the criminal trial of SNC-Lavalin.
This is evident in three main findings of the Commissioner:
- The Commissioner found that in addition to the numerous discussions of the financial interests of SNC-Lavalin, there were at least four times that political interests were discussed with Ms. Wilson-Raybould.
- Despite SNC-Lavalin filing a judicial review of the DPP’s refusal to grant them DPA, and despite Privy Council advice to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to avoid contact with SNC-Lavalin during the review process, contact between the PMO and SNC-Lavalin drastically increased. This included discussion of possible resolutions and litigation strategies, despite the clear impropriety of engaging in such discussions.
- The PMO/SNC-Lavalin discussions led to both parties approaching a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada to meet with Ms. Wilson-Raybould and advise her to overrule the DPP. This was done without Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s knowledge.
Together, these findings reveal the degree to which the PMO and SNC-Lavalin maneuvered in secret to manipulate the administration of justice by both the DPP and the Attorney General.
Essentially, the same PMO operatives who were pressuring Ms. Wilson-Raybould to overturn the decision of an independent prosecutor were scheming behind closed doors with the defendant. Indeed, they were advocating on the defendant’s behalf.
Further, they paint a disturbing picture of a Prime Minister who uses the power of his office to decide who gets prosecuted and who does not, based solely on his own partisan political interests.
The implications of this – on everything from the integrity of Canada’s highest political office, to the independence of our judicial system, to the very rule of law – cannot be overstated.
The powerful and politically connected absolutely cannot be above the law. The law must be for all.
I believe I speak for millions of Canadians by requesting that you use all the resources at your disposal to investigate this matter, not only so that justice is done but so that it is seen to be done.
Thank you for your ongoing attention to this critically important matter.
The Hon. Andrew Scheer, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Official Opposition
The full letter can be read here.