A few weeks ago I said that, in the January cabinet shuffle, made necessary by the abrupt resignation of Scott Brison, “The big loser, it seems to me, is Jody Wilson-Raybould who certainly appears to be being demoted from Justice Minister to Veterans Affairs.” There was some media speculation, at the time, that Ms Wilson-Raybould was demoted because she was not fully a pawn of the Trudeau PMO.
Now, the Globe and Mail says that “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office attempted to press Jody Wilson-Raybould when she was justice minister to intervene in the corruption and fraud prosecution of Montreal engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., sources say, but she refused to ask federal prosecutors to make a deal with the company that could prevent a costly trial.“
By way of background the article, by Robert Fife, Steven Chase and Sean Fine, explains that “SNC-Lavalin has sought to avoid a criminal trial on fraud and corruption charges stemming from an RCMP investigation into its business dealings in Libya. Prosecutors alleged in February, 2015, that SNC paid millions of dollars in bribes to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to secure government contracts. The engineering company says executives who were responsible for the wrongdoing have left the company, and it has reformed ethics and compliance rules … [then] … After the charges, SNC-Lavalin lobbied officials in Ottawa, including senior members in the office of Mr. Trudeau, to secure a deal known as a “deferred prosecution agreement” or “remediation agreement” that would set aside the prosecution. In such deals, which are used in the United States and Britain, a company would accept responsibility for the wrongdoing and pay a financial penalty, relinquish benefits gained from the wrongdoing and put in place compliance measures. “It is unfair that the actions of one or more rogue employees should tarnish a company’s reputation, as well as jeopardize its future success and its employees’ livelihoods,” SNC argued in a brief to federal officials in October, 2017 … [but] … in October, 2018, SNC-Lavalin hit a major obstacle. The federal director of public prosecutions refused to negotiate a remediation agreement that would have resolved the Libyan fraud and corruption charges without prosecution. SNC-Lavalin has asked for a judicial review of the decision, citing “the extremely negative consequences the underlying legal proceedings have had and will continue to have [even in the event of an acquittal] on [SNC] and innocent stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, pensioners and stakeholders, in the absence of an invitation to negotiate.”
“Sources say,” according to the Good Grey Globe‘s reporters that, “Ms. Wilson-Raybould, who was justice minister and attorney-general until she was shuffled to Veterans Affairs early this year, came under heavy pressure to persuade the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to change its mind … [but, to her credit] … Ms. Wilson-Raybould was unwilling to instruct the director of the public prosecution service, Kathleen Roussel, to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin, according to sources who were granted anonymity to speak directly about what went on behind-the-scenes in the matter.“
Corruption at the very highest levels
Of course, the PMO denied it … but Liberal insider and former War Room director Warren Kinsella asks, in his own blog: “Is Justin Trudeau’s PMO corrupt? … [and] … did they punish the first female indigenous leader for refusing to go along with a dirty deal for their cronies?“
He says that the “Globe and Mail story strongly suggests the answer is yes, to both questions. If true, this is corruption at the very highest levels of the federal government.“
Mr Kinsella says that “I’ve known this story was coming, but didn’t know it would be this bad. It’s bad ... [he says, and he adds that] … It’s now clear that Justin Trudeau knifed Jody Wilson-Raybould because she refused to protect friends of Justin Trudeau. Friends enmeshed in multiple corruption scandals … [and] … This one has its all: racism, cronyism, corruption.“
Remember, please, that’s a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal, the boss of Jean Chrétien’s campaign War Room, not an old Tory like me, who is calling Justin Trudeau and his closest team members corrupt.
Do you remember this wonderful illustration from the time of the Sponsorship Scandal from the late, lamented Western Standard? It was a bit of a spoof based on a then wildly popular TV crime drama called the Sopranos. It showed a rogues gallery of Liberals who were, in some cases, tried and convicted for fraud and corruption and, also, albeit some inexplicably, both Scott Brison and Paul Martin who were not implicated, as far as I remember. But it resonated with Canadians, all across the country, and helped to send the Liberals, eventually, to third party status in the house of commons.
Well, it was reprised in 2016, I think, but I cannot remember by whom and I would really like to give credit to whoever did it. I think it needs to be brought back, front and centre, today, as we approach the 2019 election campaign. We Canadians ~ the almost 40% (of the 70% who bothered to vote) who voted Liberal saddled us, yet again, with a corrupt gang of rascals who are in the pockets of equally corrupt Québec politicians and business executives. The prime minister and his inner circle appear to have fired a senior minister, Canada’s first-ever indigenous justice minister, because she wouldn’t turn a blind eye to crimes committed by SNC-Lavalin, one of Québec’s corporate darlings.
Now, I am fully prepared to agree that SNC-Lavelin is a changed company, wth new, honest leadership,but that does not mean that it should get a free ride for corporate malfeasance committed by its former executives and it certainly doesn’t mean that the Government of Canada should be complicit in a whitewash. But, as with the sabotage of the Energy East pipeline, Justin Trudeau appears to prefer to meet the demands of Québec’s political and business elites, a subset of the Laurentian Elites, rather than to serve the best interests of Canada at large.
Wake up, Canada!
All that needs to happen, of course, to make all this go away, is for Ms Wilson-Raybould to rise in the House of Commons and say that no-one, not Prime Minister Trudeau, and not one of his staff, ever “attempted to press … [her] …to intervene in the corruption and fraud prosecution” of SNC-Lavalin, as the Globe and Mail journalists claim. That she has not done so speaks volumes, doesn’t it? So does the fact that that the Prime Minister says only that ““Neither the current nor the previous attorney-general was directed by me or anyone in my office to take a decision in this matter”” and “directed” is not what was alleged by the Globe‘s reporters, is it? “Directed” is quite different from “attempted to press,” isn’t it? It all gives credence to the report and makes me suspect that Prime Minister Trudeau attempted to coerce his justice minister into turning a blind eye to corporate crime and then fired her when she refused to do so.
One wonders if the principled Ms Wilson-Raybould, despite being reported as being close to the prime minister, has not, like Leona Alleslev, had enough of Team Trudeau’s lies and would, perhaps, rather sit as an independent or even as a Conservative?
Paul Wells, writing in MacLean’s, says, and I agree fully, that “The allegations at hand are vastly more grave than the news that Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, once wrote a personal cheque to make the Mike Duffy problem go away. This is about what Justin Trudeau’s first hand-picked attorney general calls a “pillar of our democracy” … [so, he says] … let’s cut to the chase. When Justin Trudeau’s vacation with the Aga Khan started to become a problem, he spent a few weeks exploiting fine print and technicalities like a Philadelphia lawyer in hopes that everyone in Canada had lost their ability to parse transparent double-talk. There is no point in trying to do the same here … [because, as I mentioned just above] … In the absence of public denials from Jody Wilson-Raybould and her officials that anything like what is alleged in the Globe story ever happened—and I would say, even if she now makes any such denials—this needs a commission of inquiry. This is the sort of thing that, if proven, properly destroys governments.” We have more than just the whiff of corruption here and we certainly do need a commission of inquiry, rather like the Gomery Commission which investigated the Chrétien Sponsorship Scandal because those Librano$ never really went away, did they?
Canadians have to wake up, as I will say, again, very soon and in a bit more detail, the Liberal Party of Canada needs some time, starting this fall, on the opposition benches, to do some soul searching and to rebuild itself into the honest, upright institution Canadians want and deserve.