Shockwaves sent through Ottawa
CBJ — The seriousness of possible meddling by the Prime Minister’s Office as a means of keeping SNC-Lavalin from facing criminal conviction on fraud and corruption charges was ratcheted up significantly on Tuesday with the resignation of Veteran Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould from Trudeau’s federal cabinet.
Wilson-Raybould had been serving as Justice Minister and Attorney General when it was alleged she was pressured by either Trudeau or someone from within his inner circle to ensure SNC-Lavalin would not face possible criminal conviction regarding a fraud and corruption case focused on the Montreal-based company.
Trudeau has denied being involved in pressuring Wilson-Raybould on how to do her job. However, she was demoted from that position by Trudeau to Veteran Affairs, and she was not at all pleased. She will remain on as a Member of Parliament.
Wilson-Raybould said she has retained former Supreme Court judge Thomas Cromwell to provide advice about speaking publicly about the scandal, as she has been called on to do since the news broke last week.
“I am aware that many Canadians wish for me [to] speak on matters that have been in the media over the last week. I am in the process of obtaining advice on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss,” Wilson-Raybould said in the letter.
The Globe and Mail reported last week that the Prime Minister’s Office tried to influence Wilson-Raybould to ask prosecutors to make a deal to pursue a remediation agreement rather than a criminal prosecution in the corruption and fraud case against the Quebec-based engineering and construction company. Trudeau has denied the allegations.
Responding to her resignation, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has called on Trudeau to keep all documents related to the case.
The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner announced on Monday that he has launched an investigation in the case.
If it is proven that Trudeau and/or members of the PMO did in fact pressure Wilson-Raybould in reaching a decision on how to proceed with the SNC-Lavalin matter, it would almost certainly mean the end of Trudeau’s reign as prime minister.