Attorney General and Minister of Justice David Lametti says “it depends on the context” when asked whether or not a government should interfere with a criminal prosecution.
The comment was in response to a question from Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson, who asked Lametti on Sunday, “If someone approached you and said an election is at stake, would that be a persuasive argument to you?”
“It depends on the context,” he replied.
Lametti added that he cannot comment on whether alleged interference from high-ranking Liberals in the SNC-Lavalin case was appropriate because he was not there to observe it.
When asked further, he would not answer whether or not an election would justify interference.
Jody Wilson-Raybould claims to have been harassed with “potential for consequences, and veiled threats” for months to take over prosecution of the Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin to order a deferred prosecution agreement, rather than subject the company to a trial.
One alleged reason for interfering was that by protecting SNC-Lavalin, the Liberals may save jobs and help their reelection bid in the Montreal-area.
In the same interview, Lametti claimed such a deal is a still option for SNC-Lavalin, but refused to say whether or not he’s considering it.
He did say, however, that the government would consider any new information that comes to light.
“I can’t speak to the actual facts [of the SNC-Lavalin affair] but I know that in principle, an attorney general has to remain open so, in that sense, no decision is ever final,” he said.
Lametti, from Montreal, replaced Wilson-Raybould as attorney general and justice minister in a cabinet shuffle which saw her demoted to veterans affairs.
In his first weeks on the job, Lametti argued that the Justice Committee has no need to probe the SNC-Lavalin debacle to determine whether the Justin Trudeau or the Prime Minister’s Office interfered improperly in the SNC-Lavalin case.
This is directly opposed to what Wilson-Raybould alleged last week.
As more Canadians and more MPs turn against the Liberals in wake of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Trudeau has continued to claim nothing improper happened.