Aug 14, 2019

Trudeau violated Canada's ethics code, commissioner rules

Trudeau walks to a press conference on the SNC case. Photo: Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

Canada’s ethics commissioner has ruled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated ethics regulations by pressuring his then-justice minister over her handling of a case against SNC-Lavalin, the engineering and construction giant, the Toronto Star reports.

Why it matters: This ruling on the biggest scandal of Trudeau’s tenure comes ahead of a general election in October, a contest that has Trudeau's Liberals polling neck-and-neck with the opposition Conservatives. After fading to the background, the SNC-Lavalin affair will now once again be front page news.

Catch up quick: SNC-Lavalin would have been banned from bidding for government contracts for 10 years if convicted of fraud and corruption over its dealings with the Moammar Gadhafi regime in Libya from 2001 to 2011. That put thousands of jobs at risk, many of them in Trudeau’s home province of Quebec.

  • Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former justice minister, testified in March that she faced "consistent and sustained" pressure from Trudeau’s top aides to settle the matter out of court.
  • She claimed Trudeau personally asked her to "find a solution" that wouldn’t force SNC to slash jobs or relocate.
  • The scandal has resulted in multiple resignations from Trudeau's Cabinet and inner circle.

The latest: Mario Dion, the ethics commissioner, said Trudeau's "flagrant attempts to influence" Wilson-Raybould violated rules against seeking to influence a decision to "further another person's private interests" — in this case SNC-Lavalin.

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