March 2, 2019 9:11 pm
Updated: March 2, 2019 9:17 pm

Scheer blasts Liberals’ ‘alternative facts’ on SNC-Lavalin story

WATCH: Andrew Scheer calls on Justin Trudeau to resign as prime minister

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Andrew Scheer says the Trudeau government’s statements about Jody Wilson-Raybould‘s testimony on SNC-Lavalin remind him of a phrase that came out of another political controversy: alternative facts.

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“I don’t understand how they can just get away with saying ‘That’s her truth, what she has said is her side of the story and her version of events,'” the federal Conservative leader said on the Roy Green Show Saturday.

READ MORE: Trudeau ‘definitely not in agreement’ after Wilson-Raybould details pressure, ‘veiled threats’ in SNC-Lavalin affair

“It reminds me of the alternative facts debate in the U.S. with Donald Trump … they just say things that aren’t true but just they say that’s their version of it. So Mr. Trudeau’s completely lost any respect and any credibility he had on this entire issue.”

The term “alternative facts” was used by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway in 2017 in reference to the dispute over the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration.

LISTEN: Andrew Scheer joins the Roy Green Show

Wilson-Raybould ​gave her account of the SNC-Lavalin​ controversy to the House of Commons justice committee over several hours on Wednesday.

The former attorney general said she faced a campaign of sustained pressure — including from the prime minister and his staff — to secure an agreement to resolve the criminal case against the Quebec engineering firm, which is facing fraud and corruption charges.

Wilson-Raybould said the pleas persisted despite her insistence she had made a decision not to intervene in the case.

READ MORE: Lametti says he didn’t know Wilson-Raybould rejected cutting SNC-Lavalin a deal when he took over

While Justin Trudeau has said he disagrees unequivocally with his former justice minister’s version of events, he has also made comments suggesting he believes the difference between his story and hers comes down to perspective.

“Canadians expect their government to look for ways to protect jobs, to grow the economy, and that’s exactly what we’ve done every step of the way,” he said Thursday.​ “We’ve also done it in a way that has respected our laws and respected the independence of the judiciary — of that there actually is no doubt.

WATCH: Trudeau won’t say who to believe in SNC-Lavalin case

“There are disagreements in perspective on this, but I can reassure Canadians that we were doing our job and we were doing it in a way that respects and defends our institutions.”

The same day, Foreign Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland told CBC radio that Wilson-Raybould spoke “her truth” but added that she believes the prime minister would never apply “improper pressure.”

READ MORE: Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s former right hand man, among 3 witnesses next to face SNC-Lavalin committee questions

On the Roy Green Show on Saturday, pollster Darrell Bricker said Trudeau’s public comments on the SNC-Lavalin case have not helped.

“So far, the prime minister has done nothing to quell the problems that he has,” said Bricker, Global CEO of Public Affairs for Ipsos. “In fact, every time he stands in front of the camera he seems to make it worse.”

LISTEN: Bill Wilson joins the Roy Green show

He said Trudeau will have a difficult time coming back from the allegations in the months before the October election, though the party does have time to present a compelling case to Canadians — if it has one.

“Once those kinds of things happen, this is going to dog them all the way through to the election campaign. And governments that are dogged by this kind of thing have a very difficult time convincing Canadians that they actually deserve another term,” he said.

In the meantime, Bricker said, the Conservatives have been steadily pulling ahead in the polls. An Ipsos poll conducted between Feb. 14 and 18, found that, if an election were held today, the Tories would receive 36 per cent of the decided popular vote versus 34 per cent for the Liberals.

With files from Jessica Vomiero, Global News

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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