Trudeau grilled on SNC-Lavalin controversy after Blackberry funding announcement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits a construction site in Sudbury, Ont., on Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019. CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced a fresh round of questions on the SNC-Lavalin controversy Friday after he out some money to a technology firm.

Trudeau was in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata and announced a $40 million of federal money for BlackBerry, the one-time smartphone leader that is now working on software to enable self-driving cars.

READ MORE: Trudeau’s cabinet faces 5th ethics investigation — here’s how Stephen Harper’s office compared

BlackBerry says its QNX software is already in tens of millions of cars, guiding systems related to driver assistance, hands-free features and entertainment consoles.

The federal money, to come from the Strategic Innovation Fund, will go towards software development and skills training for workers.

The company is putting $300 million of its own money into the initiative, expected to create 800 jobs over the next decade at BlackBerry’s Kanata campus as well as support 300 existing jobs there.

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But the federal announcement was also overshadowed by ongoing fallout over allegations of undue political pressure on criminal justice.

Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from the federal cabinet this week, leaving unanswered questions about whether Trudeau’s aides leaned on her to help engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

Trudeau has denied Wilson-Raybould was pressured to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin rather than pursue a criminal trial on charges of bribery and fraud linked to the company’s efforts to secure business in Libya.

READ MORE: Jody Wilson-Raybould’s father speaks out on SNC-Lavalin controversy

He says Wilson-Raybould should have come to him with any concerns she might have had about the matter.

The Liberal-dominated House of Commons justice committee has agreed to hear from a handful of witnesses, but the list does not include Wilson-Raybould.

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Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion has begun his own investigation into the matter, specifically whether there’s been a violation of the Conflict of Interest Act.

WATCH: Trudeau denies allegation that PMO pressured AG to drop SNC-Lavalin case

Click to play video: 'Trudeau denies allegation that PMO pressured AG to drop SNC-Lavalin case' Trudeau denies allegation that PMO pressured AG to drop SNC-Lavalin case
Trudeau denies allegation that PMO pressured AG to drop SNC-Lavalin case – Feb 7, 2019

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