News reports that the Prime Minister’s Office attempted to pressure Jody Wilson-Raybould when she was justice minister to intervene in the criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. have sent shock waves through Canada’s political landscape and raised alarms about the conduct of the Prime Minister and his office.
The fact that the Prime Minister himself appears to have fired his own Attorney General for refusing to bow to his demands is even more shocking. We have seen this in other parts of the world – when leaders dismiss their Attorneys General for defying their orders. To have it seemingly happen here in Canada is deeply disturbing.
“It is a pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political interference and uphold the highest levels of public confidence. As such, it has always been my view that the Attorney General of Canada must be non-partisan, more transparent in the principles that are the basis of decisions, and, in this respect, always willing to speak truth to power.”
These are Minister Wilson-Raybould’s own words which she posted on her website after she was fired as Attorney General. They now have even more relevance given these news reports.
Minister Wilson-Raybould has stated that solicitor-client privilege prevents her from answering any questions about these allegations which is why Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has written the Prime Minister calling on him to immediately waive this privilege so that Canadians can get answers.
It is important that we all understand what exactly happened here. I am pleased to hear that Conservative and NDP members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights have called for an emergency meeting to question Trudeau’s PMO and other government officials over their potential interference in an ongoing criminal prosecution.
There have also been calls for the Ethics Commissioner and the RCMP to launch investigations.
Should the Liberals prevent PMO officials from testifying before the Justice Committee, rest assured Conservatives will pursue every course of action to make sure that Justin Trudeau and his office are held to account.
Nothing short of full disclosure by the Prime Minister and his office is acceptable.
All of us, as Canadians, deserve to know the truth.
Bob Zimmer is the Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.