Imagining a government that works for Canadians

Trudeau guilty, pressed JWR to cancel SNC corruption trial

A scathing report on Trudeau’s wrong-doing has found the Liberal PM has — again — broken ethics laws in secret dealings with rich friends.

In 2017, Trudeau broke the law while he enjoyed an all-expense paid vacation to a billionaire’s private Caribbean island with his family and Liberal friends, including the Liberal Party president.

Today’s finding are far more serious. Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion found Justin Trudeau:

— tried to have Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould cancel SNC’s corruption trial

— told Wilson-Raybould cancelling the SNC corruption trial should be done to advance Liberal Party electoral interests

— violated a Supreme Court-recognized constitutional convention — the principle of prosecutorial independence as summarized in the Shawcross doctrine

— violated the Ethics Code in trying to improperly influence Wilson-Raybould to advance SNC’s private financial interests

Exactly how many millions — or billions — of dollars hung in the balance for SNC was not outlined in Commissioner Dion’s report.

Trudeau used means to “circumvent, undermine…and discredit”

According to Dion, Justin Trudeau “directly and through his senior officials, used various means to…circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson‑Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”

Dion also reports that he was not permitted to interview key witnesses because of the Privy Council Office’s interpretation of confidentiality rules — interpretations Dion disagreed with and argued cannot be permitted to stand.

“Because of the decisions to deny our Office further access to Cabinet confidences, witnesses were constrained in their ability to provide all evidence,” wrote Dion. “I was, therefore, prevented from looking over the entire body of evidence to determine its relevance to my examination.”

It seems that Trudeau is still involved in a cover-up today.

In Davos, Trudeau misdirects, Morneau can’t remember

On January 23, 2018, Trudeau was on the public stage at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland. And as the cameras rolled and reporters reported, Trudeau was imploring the global glitterati to do more “hiring, promoting and retaining more women.”

But on the private sidelines of Davos, feminism wasn’t on the agenda. In Davos on the same day Trudeau stood on the public stage, Finance Minister Morneau and SNC CEO Neil Bruce privately discussed the “economic impacts” — as Commissioner Dion so delicately puts it in his report — if their Libya corruption charges were allowed to go to trial.

In February 2015, SNC was charged with corrupting Libyan public officials with $48 million in bribes and defrauding the Libyan people of $130 million.

According to the Ethics Commissioner, Morneau testified “he did not recall what was discussed” at the meeting. But presumably the real agenda at Davos wasn’t SNC’s failure to hire and promote more women. Likely it was more about avoiding public accountability for bribery, fraud and supporting a brutal dictator.

A little more than a month later, on February 27, 2018, Morneau’s budget implementation legislation included Criminal Code amendments allowing the possibility of deferred prosecution agreement, or DPA.

In September 2018, the Director of Public Prosecutions — the independent officer that manages federal prosecutions — found that SNC had not met the legal threshold to be offered a DPA. SNC later appeal that decision, which was denied by a federal court.

Even while the SNC appeal was before the courts, the PMO continued to press Wilson-Raybould, according to Commissioner Dion’s report.

Corporations always come first in Ottawa

Trudeau’s on-going stalling to protect Big Pharma from pharmacare, his panicked bail-out of Kinder Morgan and his SNC scandal all illustrate how assiduously Ottawa Liberals work to make life easier for the rich and powerful.

It’s a bipartisan affair. Only a few months ago, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer joined a day-long “strategy session” with corporate oil executives. Scheer’s Conservatives, like Liberals, have given multiple rounds of corporate tax cuts and set many special tax rules for rich Canadians who live off inheritances and investment income.

The SNC scandal has revealed, once again, that Justin Trudeau isn’t the person Canadians thought — or who he suggests he is when the cameras are on.

Perhaps most galling and disgusting, Trudeau has used a public feminist discourse to misdirect people from his grubby, crass and illegal effort to advantage Liberal Party fortunes by helping a rich infrastructure company get out of a criminal corruption trial.

In Ottawa, a powerful friend in need is an opportunity for a powerful friend indeed. And it seems there is no greed too great when a politician needs an account top-up at the favours bank — and they always do. That’s the ethic that governs Canadians, under Liberals and Conservatives alike. It’s toxic.

The Ethics Commissioner was not given access to all the witnesses he required, and we still don’t know the depth of the legal violations by Trudeau, his Ministers and Liberal political staff.

An election is coming. Canadians have the chance to demand better than switching between Liberal scandal and Conservative scandal. They have a chance to stop settling between bad and worse. Or awful and dreadful.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, his MPs and strong grassroots social democrats are needed like never before. It’s evident that Trudeau is morally unfit to be Prime Minister. And Scheer is no alternative. Trudeau Liberals must be defeated and replaced by a government that works for the Canadian people.