AP­PLY TRANS­PARENCY VOW TO SNC-LAVALIN CASE, MR. PM

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - AP­PLY TRANS­PARENCY VOW TO SNC-LAVALIN CASE, MR. PM
“One of the most im­por­tant things about my ap­proach in pol­i­tics has been cre­at­ing a level of ac­count­abil­ity, of trans­parency, of open­ness, of hon­esty that means ad­mit­ting when mis­takes were made, tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for them, and fix­ing them in an open man­ner.”Justin Trudeau spoke those words five years ago — set­ting the tone for what he pitched to Cana­di­ans as a new way of do­ing pol­i­tics.“Open­ness and trans­parency will be our con­stant com­pan­ions, and we will work to re­store Cana­di­ans’ trust in their govern­ment and in our democ­racy.”He said that when he was sworn in as prime min­is­ter.Cana­di­ans took this prime min­is­ter at his word. They trusted him to be who he said he would be. And he has be­trayed them.The al­le­ga­tions lev­elled last week against Justin Trudeau and his of­fice are griev­ous and strike at the very heart of our rule of law.SNC-Lavalin, one of the Lib­eral Party of Canada’s largest cor­po­rate back­ers, is be­ing pros­e­cuted on charges of bribery. For the last three years, the com­pany has ag­gres­sively lob­bied key govern­ment of­fi­cials for a spe­cial deal that would see it avoid crim­i­nal prose­cu­tion.The govern­ment re­sponded last year, when it wedged into the bud­get bill a new le­gal pro­vi­sion that would give SNC-Lavalin ex­actly what it wanted.The use of that pro­vi­sion is at the dis­cre­tion of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions and, last Oc­to­ber, that of­fice in­formed SNC-Lavalin no spe­cial deal was com­ing.That should have been the end of it. It was only the be­gin­ning.Un­happy with that re­sult, the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice al­legedly pres­sured the at­tor­ney gen­eral to over­rule due le­gal process by grant­ing this Lib­eral-friendly cor­po­rate gi­ant the spe­cial deal it had long sought and then fir­ing her when she coura­geously re­fused to do so.(Cana­di­ans owe Jody Wil­son-Ray­bould a debt of grat­i­tude for hold­ing true to her prin­ci­ples and pro­tect­ing the rule of law when her po­lit­i­cal mas­ters im­plored her to aban­don it.)The level of cor­rup­tion im­plied is stag­ger­ing.Since these al­le­ga­tions were pub­lished, Par­lia­ment has sought an­swers. For two days, MPs on all sides of the house grilled the govern­ment’s front bench in ques­tion pe­riod (Mr. Trudeau was cu­ri­ously ab­sent). For two days, we got noth­ing.So we took the next step. We have forced an emer­gency meet­ing of the jus­tice com­mit­tee to vote on a mo­tion call­ing on nine key govern­ment of­fi­cials to tes­tify be­fore all Cana­di­ans about what hap­pened in this case. That meet­ing will take place this week, but the govern­ment has al­ready in­di­cated it will block this at­tempt at trans­parency.Ms. Wil­son-Ray­bould has claimed solic­i­tor-client priv­i­lege pre­vents her from dis­clos­ing the ad­vice she gave to the govern­ment in the SNC-Lavalin mat­ter. So I per­son­ally wrote to Mr. Trudeau de­mand­ing he waive that priv­i­lege, as prime min­is­ters both Lib­eral and Con­ser­va­tive have done in the past when Cana­di­ans de­manded an­swers on mat­ters of ethics and pub­lic con­fi­dence.How­ever, given the stonewall treat­ment we’ve en­coun­tered thus far, his blithe con­tempt for past pledges of trans­parency, and the will­ing­ness of his new At­tor­ney Gen­eral to pro­tect him, I’m not op­ti­mistic he will do so.Which nat­u­rally begs the ques­tion of what Mr. Trudeau is try­ing to hide. In his only pub­lic state­ment on the mat­ter, he re­peated a care­fully crafted and legally vet­ted line which, in essence, claimed his in­no­cence in the mat­ter.If he is in­no­cent, if Mr. Trudeau is in­deed telling the truth, waiv­ing priv­i­lege and hav­ing his of­fi­cials tes­tify at com­mit­tee would surely ab­solve him and his of­fice of any wrong­do­ing.The longer he and his govern­ment avoid ac­count­abil­ity, the more it looks like he is cov­er­ing up the truth.Trudeau the can­di­date was a re­lent­less cheer­leader for open­ness and ac­count­abil­ity, promis­ing a whole new era of open govern­ment to win votes.On this, Trudeau the prime min­is­ter has be­come a fraud. He is now on the run, try­ing his best to avoid the very things he once promised to cham­pion.I will not let him get away with this.If he shuts down Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, as it ap­pears he will, I will use ev­ery pos­si­ble po­lit­i­cal, le­gal, and in­ves­tiga­tive op­tion to get the an­swers Cana­di­ans de­mand.One way or an­other, he will be held to ac­count.

Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer wants to know what Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is try­ing to hide. He says the longer Trudeau and his govern­ment avoids ac­count­abil­ity, the more it looks like he is cov­er­ing up the truth.

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