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Questions surround SNC-Lavalin ethics investigation as commissioner takes leave

Dion’s leave puts the investigation into doubt during a critical time in the development in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has taken an indefinite leave from his duties, his office announced last week in a statement citing “medical reasons.”

The announcement is sparse on details, giving no indication when Dion will be coming back, or how his absence will affect the Office of of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

The statement said Dion’s office will continue to gather information on “ongoing investigations,” which include the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

“The office also continues to gather information for any ongoing investigations,” the statement read. “Because of the statutory confidentiality requirements, we cannot comment further.”

In February, Dion’s office started an investigation into whether alleged pressure put on former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould violated the Conflict of Interest Act.

Wilson-Raybould has claimed she experienced “consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in (her) role as the Attorney General of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a deferred prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavalin.”

Dion’s leave puts the investigation into doubt during a critical time in the development in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick, who Wilson-Raybould implicated in the scandal, abruptly resigned from his post.

Given the seriousness of the SNC-Lavalin affair, many Canadians will be left wondering how the investigation will go without the investigator. Despite these concerns, the ethics commissioner’s office remains tight-lipped.

“We would request continued respect for the privacy of Commissioner Dion and his family at this time.”


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