Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

In the bombshell report from The Globe and Mail we now understand truly what she meant, because when the now former justice minister refused to drop the fraud and corruption trial against SNC Lavalin, she was sacked.

The officials said the government would have been remiss not to deliberate over the fate of the Quebec giant, given that a prosecution could bankrupt the company, putting thousands of Canadians out of work.

"If the prime minister truly believes there is no wrongdoing here, he should invite the ethics commissioner to investigate his office's dealings with SNC-Lavalin and whether or not that was a factor in the removal of Ms. Wilson-Raybould from her position as attorney general", NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement.

According to the Globe's story, the Prime Minister's Office urged Wilson-Raybould to intervene in a case of corruption against the Quebec engineering and construction company.

As part of a cabinet shuffle last month, Trudeau reassigned Wilson-Raybould from the justice portfolio to become Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defense.

During the heady days of Justin Trudeau's "because it's 2015" declaration, Wilson-Raybould's ascension to the role of the nation's top justice official defined the moment.

During question period in the House of Commons on Friday, the opposition homed in on a December meeting between Wilson-Raybould and Gerald Butts, principal secretary to the prime minister, which the PMO has confirmed. "Neither the current nor the previous attorney general was ever directed by me or anyone in my office to take a decision in this matter".

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer holds a press conference on Parliament Hill on February 8, 2019. "The attorney general of Canada is the chief law officer of the Crown and provides legal advice to the government with the responsibility to act in the public interest".

Reacting to the prime minister's comments and the report, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the allegations in the story are "incredibly shocking", and said Trudeau's "carefully crafted" answers so far, fall short. "MPs have a duty to determine what exactly happened here and Justin Trudeau and his office must be forthcoming". The Conservatives' Scheer and the New Democrats' Singh both called Friday for an ethics probe into the allegations.

"All this cries out for some serious investigation", he said in a telephone interview from Burnaby, B.C., where he's campaigning for a seat in the House of Commons in a February 25 byelection. After lobbying by the company of government officials, including those in the PMO, the government included in its 2018 budget a Criminal Code amendment to allow such agreements to be negotiated in cases of corporate crime, as is done in the United States and the United Kingdom. Singh also pointed to sections in the Act which govern "Influence" and "Insider Information" as potential sources of other violations. Montrealer David Lametti took over as attorney general and justice minister.

SNC has previously been charged with bribery and corruption over its efforts to secure government business in Libya.

CTV News has asked Jody Wilson-Raybould for comment on the story and her office said she will not be commenting today.

Wilson-Raybould's father, Bill Wilson, said in a Facebook post Thursday that his daughter's cabinet demotion "makes sense now - ugly political sense".

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