SNC-Lavalin CEO Neil Bruce seems to have put paid to the story being told by the Prime Minister, former Principal Secretary Gerald Butts and the former Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick who all said the efforts of the government to convince former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to defer criminal charges of bribery and fraud against SNC were all about trying to save 9,000 jobs in Quebec.
Bruce said in an interview with Canadian Press he never cited the protection of 9,000 Canadian jobs as a reason it should be granted a remediation agreement or Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA).
Yet that was spouted ad nauseam by Justin Trudeau et al as the motivating factor for what they did. As recently as this week he reiterated the claim even after the interview with Bruce appeared.
So, where did this come from if not from SNC-Lavalin?
It would seem this was a talking point from the PMO to try and get the attention of the former AG. Especially when Trudeau told her he was the member from Papineau and intimated to Wilson-Raybould their re-election chances hung in the balance as a result.
But none of it was true.
Indeed, their election chances may well be at risk because of all this.
But where this really matters is with the potential criminal charges of Attempted Obstruction of Justice under Section 139 (2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. The wording of the section specifically says: Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
Emphasis on the word “wilfully.”
This is a specific intent offence meaning you had to intend to obstruct justice in your actions. The problem for the Prime Minister and the PMO is using false information to try and sway the AG is evidence of intent. Why else avoid the truth?
Without the information provided by the CEO of SNC-Lavalin, the PM could argue he was just providing information to be considered. With that information it shows he was being economic with the truth.
Which may explain why it emerged last week that separate law firms had been engaged for counsel to the Prime Minister, Butts, Wernick and other staff in the PMO.
Why would they lawyer up unless they realized they were in legal jeopardy?
In this space last week I said the RCMP needed to be investigating all of this. One wonders now whether notice was sent to the PMO that indeed an investigation had begun?
Why else would they all lawyer up?
The RCMP for its part typically never confirms or denies whether it is investigating something like this. In this instance, especially with all the twists this has taken, the resignations of two senior cabinet ministers, Butts himself and then Wernick, there’s far too much smoke in this that needs to be cleared.
The Commissioner of the RCMP needs to be straight with the people of Canada especially in an election year. Is the Prime Minister under criminal investigation or not? If not, why not when it seems, at least on the surface of things, that a prima facie case exists of obstruction?
The Prime Minister needs to explain why all the lawyers have been retained. They are all being paid for by the taxpayers and these things should not happen in a vacuum.
The former President of the Treasury Board, Jane Phillpott, gave an astounding interview to Maclean’s magazine where she claimed there was much to this whole story that has yet to be told. I suspect she is exactly correct.
With just seven months to election day, Canadians deserve answers.