Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry into SNC-Lavalin controversy
|globalnews.ca 18 Feb 2019 at 12:58|
New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling for an independent investigation into the Justin Trudeau-SNC-Lavalin controversy, as well as a vote on allowing former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to speak publicly about the incident.
“The prime minister seems to be continuously helping out his friends rather than everyday Canadians,” Singh told reporters Monday.
“Our government should not be working to help their friends drop criminal charges.”
Shortly after Singh’s address, Trudeau’s primary secretary Gerald Butts resigned from his post and maintained that the accusations against the Prime Minister’s Office are false.
It’s been alleged that during her time as justice minister, Wilson-Raybould was pressured to help the Quebec-based firm SNC-Lavalin avoid prosecution for criminal charges involving fraud and bribery linked to Libyan business deals.
The company risks being banned from federal contracts for a decade if convicted. In October, federal prosecutors rejected the company’s request for a remediation deal.
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In January, Wilson-Raybould was moved to the veterans affairs portfolio as part of a shuffle precipitated by former Treasury Board president Scott Brison’s decision to leave politics.
Last Tuesday, , or whether she felt pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office to act on SNC-Lavalin’s behalf.
Trudeau maintained this week that had Brison not resigned, Wilson-Raybould would still be justice minister, though the Conservatives and NDP quickly rejected that explanation.
In his address, Singh said his party would call for a vote in the House of Commons to launch an independent investigation into the affair, via a public inquiry. An internal investigation has already been launched.
In addition, he said his party would call for a second vote to allow Wilson-Raybould to speak candidly about the events of the SNC-Lavalin case and any direction she may have received from the prime minister. She is currently bound by solicitor-client privilege, though she says she’s retained legal counsel to determine what she can and cannot speak about publicly.
Singh isn’t the only Canadian government official to call for Wilson-Raybould’s testimony. Last week, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer told reporters that if the Liberals block an ongoing motion to allow the former veterans affairs minister to testify on the matter, it will show they have something to hide.
He called on Liberal members to “do the right thing” and support the motion — and also called on them to call Trudeau as a witness.
All this has bubbled to the surface at the start of a federal election year, and it’s unclear whether the SNC-Lavalin affair will impact Trudeau’s consistently strong polling numbers .