The new Justice Minister and Attorney General, David Lametti met with and was lobbied by SNC-Lavalin in 2017.
The Montreal construction and engineering giant is involved in the biggest political scandal to hit the Trudeau government since coming into office in 2015.
According to a Globe and Mail report, members from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) met with SNC-Lavalin lobbyists on over 50 occasions while the company was facing fraud and bribery charges. The report also alleges that the PMO attempted to pressure former Justice Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the case on the corporation’s behalf.
The Prime Minister has since denied the allegations, claiming that his office never “directed” the former Justice Minister to make any decision on the matter and has since insisted that she never came to him with any concerns about potential interference.
“It was her responsibility to let me know about that, of course she said nothing of that to me last Fall,” said Trudeau earlier today in Winnipeg.
Lametti was appointed to the role of Justice Minister in a cabinet shuffle that occurred earlier this year. In the shuffle, Lametti replaced Wilson-Raybould, who was demoted to the position of the Minister of Veterans Affairs. She has since left the Liberal cabinet over the ongoing SNC-Lavalin political interference scandal.
According to the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada, Lametti had a private meeting with SNC-Lavalin representatives on May 30th, 2017.
The entry in the monthly communication report lists “government procurement, immigration, industry and infrastructure” as the subject matter of the meeting.
This meeting occurred well before Lametti was appointed to be the Justice Minister on January 14th. During the time Lametti was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).
Among the things spoken about in the meeting with SNC-Lavalin, one of the things discussed was “The introduction of Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) legislation/regulation/program or policies.”
DPA’s allow corporations accused of white collar crimes to avoid criminal prosecution by coming to an agreement with prosecutors that would see the company pay fines and make recommended internal changes to avoid future crimes from taking place.
Shortly after the SNC-Lavalin scandal broke, Lametti claimed that he might still intervene on behalf of the ailing company.
“As a final step, I could issue a directive, but the Public Prosecution Service is an independent service,” said Lametti on the possibility of a future settlement agreement.
The federal director of public prosecutions has since asked the court to toss out a potential plea-deal with SNC-Lavalin.