We know that what Justin Trudeau did in the SNC-Lavalin affair was unethical, now we need to know if what he did was criminal.
The Ethics Commissioner found that Trudeau broke the law — violated the Conflict of Interest Act — in pushing for SNC-Lavalin to get a sweetheart deal to avoid bribery and corruption charges.
What the RCMP need to determine now is whether Trudeau is guilty of obstruction of justice.
“The RCMP is examining this matter carefully with all available information and will take appropriate actions as required,” the RCMP said in a statement.
That doesn’t tell us whether Trudeau is actually under investigation, but he should be.
“The evidence abundantly shows that Mr. Trudeau knowingly sought to influence Ms. Wilson-Raybould both directly and through the actions of his agents,” Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion wrote in his report.
For people that think trying to influence the attorney general not to prosecute a company on bribery and corruption charges is no big deal, stop and think about that.
The leader of our national government was trying, as the report stated, to “circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”
That means that the leader of our national government wanted to decide whether a company — it could very well have been an individual — would be prosecuted by how he felt about them.
We do not have a justice system that decides who should and should not be prosecuted based on who you know in the PMO, but that is what Trudeau wanted.
The criminal code defines obstruction of justice as someone who “wilfully attempts in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding.”
Can you say that Justin Trudeau’s actions don’t fit within that definition?
When this story first broke, I asked former Ontario attorney general, and Liberal, Michael Bryant for his thoughts.
Bryant, who now heads up the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, was blunt.
“A lot of police officers have laid a lot of obstruction of justice charges on a lot of ordinary Canadians, with a lot less evidence than this,” Bryant said.
Justice, if served properly, should treat the prime minister the same as the average person.
If ordinary Canadians would face charges for this, then so should the prime minister.
The PM is trying to skate past this by saying that he was just trying to protect jobs.
Nevermind that the former CEO of SNC-Lavalin said the 9,000 jobs in Canada would not have been in jeopardy if the company was convicted, and forget that most of the people employed by SNC would be hired elsewhere.
The PM’s claim raises some important questions.
If it is okay to break the law to ‘save jobs,’ how many jobs does it take to justify breaking the law?
The PM is playing a dangerous game here — one that could do serious damage to our justice system and challenge the idea that Canada is a country based on the rule of law.
If the PM can try to force a decision on prosecution, then what is to stop a future PM from calling a judge to get the decision they want? That isn’t a justice system that I want for Canada.
This is what is on the line here, this is why this matters.