Tuesday , August 9 2022

PMO knew of disagreements between prosecutors on SNC-Lavalin


The Office of the First Minister received the final collapse of the information that there was an internal dispute between the independent Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel and one of the undergraduate prosecutors dealing with bribery and SNC-Lavalin fraud, t a federal official says.

The information did not come from prosecutors on the case, but rather from someone connected with SNC-Lavalin, the officer who had anonymity added to the matter freely.

The former general attorney, Jody Wilson-Raybould, first spoke publicly about the apparent disputes among prosecutors on 27 February, when he appeared before the House justice committee. According to Ms Wilson-Raybould, two PMO officers – adviser Quebec Mathieu Bouchard and senior adviser Elder Marques – said her chief staff on 16 September that Ms Roussel was opposed to a settlement with SNC-Lavalin, while a federal prosecutor on which the file intended to discuss agreement outside the court.

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Chief Justice Glenn Joyal says his name is being used as part of an agenda ’in Jody Wilson-Raybould and the Liberal dispute.

Deputy Minister for Justice Nathalie Drouin was asked at the justice committee on 6 March and it was appropriate for political officials to speak to prosecutors about cases. He said, “Crown prosecutors do not have conversations about specific cases with the PMO.”

The Canadian Public Prosecution Service (PPSC) informed Montreal engineering on 4 September that its application for a prosecution agreement, also known as a recovery agreement, had failed. PPSC's rationale for refusing negotiation with SNC-Lavalin has not been published and was not due to be shared within the federal government beyond Ms Wilson-Raybould in her capacity as attorney-general .

Ms Roussel's office refused to say whether there was an internal dispute about whether a deferred contract should be granted. Last week, Daniela Pizzuto, spokesman for SNC-Lavalin, said the company was unaware of the “in-house works and the decision-making process” in the PPSC “and as a result could not, and could not, t he had informed anyone in government or elsewhere about any such posts. ”

Communications director and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Cameron Ahmad, refused to confirm on Friday whether the PMO was aware of the apparent prosecution side dispute. However, the federal officer who spoke to The Globe and Mail confirmed that Mr's office. Trudeau is aware of the internal disagreement.

Mr Trudeau said on Monday that he was leaving Mario Dion's Ethics Commissioner to find out how two of his senior advisers had in-house information about discussions at the PPSC about criminal prosecution SNC-Lavalin for his alleged business transactions in Libya.

At a news conference in Maple Ridge, B.C. Trudeau how the PMO got the information since the PPSC told the Globe on Saturday that it had not shared any internal information with SNC-Lavalin than the PMO.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is listening as he is presented before a post-budget housing announcement in a town house development in Maple Ridge, BC, on March 25, 2019.

DARRYL DYCK / The Canada Press

“There are still a number of questions that the Commissioner for Ethics and others are considering, primarily the Commissioner for Ethics,” he told reporters.

On February 11, Mr Dion announced an investigation under the section of the Conflict of Interest Act which prohibited the holder of a public office from "attempting to influence another person's decision to improperly promote another's private interests."

However, opposition MPs and experts have raised questions about Mr Dion's ability to get to the bottom of the issue, saying that the real issue is not whether the government or political officials had a conflict of interest but rather whether they were putting inappropriate pressure on Ms Wilson-Raybould to book a settlement.

When asked why he had kept the two councilors in the PMO, Mr Trudeau gave a long response about how he looked at the refurbishment of his office as a result of arguing SNC-Lavalin. Mr Trudeau's friend and principal secretary, Gerald Butts, gives his job at the PMO on February 12.

“We have also progressed in ways that change some of our internal processes so that situations like this do not arrive in the future,” said Mr Trudeau. “That's why we are moving forward in a meaningful and decisive way on changing some of the processes in our office. We bring in some external advice and we are creating more support for warnings. ”

On Monday, a spokesman for SNC-Lavalin, Ms Pizzuto, did not respond to a request from The Globe and anyone working for SNC-Lavalin had communicated the company's discussions with prosecutors to the public. PMO as senior government official said.

Ms Roussel's office would not say whether an internal investigation had been launched to reveal potential information about the case to people from outside.

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“The PPSC can confirm that prosecutors and PPSC staff did not release any information or give any details or opinions in relation to the prosecution and / or SNC-Lavalin recovery agreements to the PMO,” Nathalie Houle, sy & # 39 s deal with media contacts in the PPSC, he said in a statement on Monday.

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt said she was concerned that PMO officials were using the information to try to move around Ms Roussel and persuade the general attorney to order a deferred prosecution agreement.

“If that information was given to the Prime Minister's Office, they should never have used it to try to convince the general attorney to go against the Director of Public Prosecutions and they should have tried some sort of o counsel and advice on what they should do. Ms Raitt said.

Michael Bryant, Ontario's former general attorney and now head of the Canadian Civil Rights Association, said it was totally inappropriate for “the PMO to try to play one side against the other,” he added, “that's going a long way outside. beyond input and looks like a handle. ”

Ms Wilson-Raybould decided, by mid-September, that she would not issue a direction to overturn the PPSC's decision in this case and told the Prime Minister and council clerk, Michael Wernick, at a meeting on 17 September.

However, he testified that the PMO had repeatedly sought to reconsider her decision until December, when Mr Wernick told Ms. Wilson-Raybould said his job was on a collision course with Mr. Trudeau.

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Ms Wilson-Raybould was shocked at the post of justice and attorney general on January 14 and was named veterans' affairs minister. Mr Trudeau has denied moving Ms Wilson-Raybould because of her job on SNC-Lavalin.

On February 7, The Globe reported that the Prime Minister's Office was putting pressure on the general attorney to negotiate a settlement without a trial for SNC-Lavalin.

Following The Globe report, Ms Wilson-Raybould and Mr Butts resigned while Jane Philpott gave up her position as President of the Treasury Board, stating an attempt to intervene in the judicial system. On 18 March, Mr Wernick retired, saying that he had lost the “trust and respect” of opposition parties for the SNC-Lavalin relationship.

Performers can learn more about what came to light when Ms Wilson-Raybould presented additional “relevant facts and evidence” to the justice committee this week that she will support to support her previous evidence. for efforts by Mr Trudeau and the best helpers to help SNC- Lavalin avoids a criminal trial.

But Ms Wilson-Raybould has also asked Mr. Trudeau surrendered the secrecy of the cabinet and lawyer-general privilege so he can talk about the time period when he was excited from the Ministry of Justice in early January to his resignation from the cabinet last month.

The First Minister told reporters on Monday that there was no need to give Ms. another waiver. Wilson-Raybould, saying that the justice committee has a “full issue” of the issue. Last week, the Liberal-led justice committee is closing hearings on the SNC-Lavalin relationship.

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The House of Commons ethics committee meets on Tuesday and the opposition is pressing for Ms. Wilson-Raybould witnessed there.

The Liberals have a majority on the ethics committee although opposition members hope that the Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who has sympathized with Ms Wilson-Raybould's position, will force them to compel a hearing.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said the Prime Minister had "something to hide" and urged him to give up privilege and allowed Ms Wilson-Raybould to appear before the ethics committee. At the weekend, a number of Liberal MPs said said Ms Wilson-Raybould should clear the air at the House of Commons where it is covered by parliamentary immunity.

“If Justin Trudeau falls down the ethics committee, I would know that all the comments over the last 48 hours are lies and they don't really want the truth,” said Mr Scheer.

Meanwhile in a news release on Monday, SNC-Lavalin tried to explain recent statements from his CEO Neil Bruce, who told The Globe and other media that the company had never argued for a settlement based on economic reasons such as job losses.

The company said it was always "clear" to the government that a recovery agreement was the best way to protect its jobs in Canada, while insisting that "the Canadian government was never threatened by SNC-Lavalin" t from job losses or moving from its headquarters out of the country if it didn't get a deal.

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“A [remediation agreement] he would reduce the immense uncertainty for the SNC-Lavalin workforce and ensure that his headquarters can stay and flourish in Canada, ”said the company.

With files from Ian Bailey in Vancouver and Sean Fine in Toronto

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