You’ve undoubtedly seen on the news “Justin Trudeau – SNC Lavalin – Scandal/Crisis” all in one breath but have no idea what it’s about and don’t want to spend the time perusing multiple articles on it. Look no further, lets cover it in 5 minutes.
First, some questions to ask yourself:
1. Is bribery wrong?
2. Is it wrong if the government influences independent public servants that affect the law?
3. Should the government intervene in legal issues of corporations if jobs and innocent livelihoods are at stake?
SNC-Lavalin is a construction and engineering, Montreal-based company that employs approximately 9 thousand Canadians across the country, that has been charged with bribing foreign officials, corruption and fraud.
SNC has been lobbying lawmakers to avoid criminal conviction, claiming the work of rogue employees who have been convicted of bribery and laundering (Riadh Ben Aissa).
It has been alleged that the Attorney General at the time, Jody Wilson-Raybould was pressured by the Prime Minster, Prime Minster Office (PMO) and staff, to step in and spare the company from criminal prosecution which could result in the company not getting any contracts for up to 10 years which may cause them to move their business from Canada and thus lose jobs for Canadians.
This is important because the Attorney General (AG) is the main legal adviser to the government that is independent, supposed to be non-partisan and is supposed to act in the public interest. No one is supposed to influence the AG as they are supposed to provide oversight.
The timing is intriguing because one month after the alleged time that the PMO pressured the AG to intervene (who refused), the Prime Minster changed the position of Wilson-Raybould from AG to Veteran Affairs, that while it pays the same, was widely seen as a demotion. A month after that, she stepped down.
The official position of the Liberal government is that they did not pressure Wilson-Raybould, but was concerned at the people that would be affected who did not engage in the wrongdoing: employees, customers, pensioners. This would be honorable, if not for the fact that many employees come from Justin Trudeau’s own riding, and a loss of jobs would make a big impact in future election considerations.
Opposition parties see this as obstruction of justice and interference with a public official and is using this as an opportunity to attack the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party.