April 9, 2019 8:57 am

Bill Kelly: How would Andrew Scheer have handled the SNC-Lavalin case?

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer revealed on Sunday that he was sent a threatening letter to sue him for libel by Justin Trudeau's lawyer, saying he wants Trudeau to follow through on his threat.

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As the latest chapter of the SNC-Lavalin affair continues to percolate and the prime minister takes the heat for his government’s handling of the file, there is a pertinent yet unanswered question that needs to be addressed, namely, what would Andrew Scheer have done?

It’s a fair question, especially in light of the fact that there is a federal election later this year and it’s no secret that Scheer would love to occupy the number one seat on the government side of the House of Commons.

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Scheer has been relentless in his criticism of the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin file, and heaven knows, there is much of which to be critical.

The details of this sordid affair have shone the light on the behind-the-scenes world of backroom deals and lobbying.

As unpleasant as that may seem to many of us, that angst is exacerbated by the realization that this kind of politics occurs more often than not.

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It’s like the old analogy, we might like sausage, but we don’t want to see how it’s made.

But, while Scheer continues to hammer away at the government’s actions, we wonder how he might have handled this controversial issue.

We know that he also met with SNC-Lavalin officials about their pending legal issues, and I’m sure the topic of a deferred prosecution agreement or DPA was discussed.

But Scheer has coyly avoided declaring if he would support a DPA for SNC-Lavalin or if he would support pursuing prosecution of the charges against the engineering giant, with all of the economic consequences that could follow.

In an op-ed piece in the National Post earlier this week, Conrad Black opines that, essentially, the Trudeau government’s inclination for a DPA for SNC-Lavalin was what any Canadian government would have and should have done, and it goes without saying that Black is no supporter of the Liberal Party or Justin Trudeau.

Black’s contention, that the Canadian government has no right to pass moral judgement on how an international corporation such as SNC-Lavalin conducts business in foreign territories, is contentious, to say the least, but he’s not alone in his view.

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Which brings us back to Andrew Scheer.

In our Parliamentary system, Opposition leaders have the benefit of lambasting the government without the burden of offering alternatives.

Scheer’s criticism of the prime minister is sometimes poignant, sometimes hyperbolic, but also, perhaps somewhat hypocritical.

Had the roles been reversed, it’s quite likely that he would have done the same thing.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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