The federal ethics watchdog says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
Mario Dion says Trudeau’s attempts to influence Wilson-Raybould on the matter 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 there’s little doubt that SNC-Lavalin’s financial interests would have been furthered had Trudeau succeeded in convincing Wilson-Raybould to overturn a decision by the director of public prosecutions, who had refused to invite the Montreal engineering giant to negotiate a remediation agreement in order to avoid a criminal prosecution on fraud charges related to contracts in Libya.
Dion says Trudeau also improperly pushed Wilson-Raybould to consider partisan political interests in the matter, contrary to constitutional principles on prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.
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.
They are running for re-election as independent candidates.
The Canadian Press