Justin Trudeau gazed into television cameras on Feb. 7 and denied a Globe and Mail report that his office had intervened in a criminal case involving engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.
“The allegations in the Globe story this morning are false,” he said. “Neither the current nor the previous attorney general was ever directed by me or anyone in my office to take a decision in this matter.”
Six months ago, the allegation was that Trudeau and his senior PMO circle had pressured, even bullied, former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to intercede and persuade independent federal prosecutors to refrain from laying fraud and corruption criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin over allegations the company had paid bribes to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.
The PMO preferred a remediation agreement, which would result in the Quebec company resolving the issue by payment of a fine.
WATCH BELOW: Several Supreme Court justices consulted about SNC case. Mike Le Couteur reports.
The officials in the PMO picked the wrong attorney general. Jody Wilson-Raybould would not play ball.
Result? The federal cabinet star of Wilson-Raybould was extinguished.
Subsequently, Canadians were treated to exchanges of political broadsides at the parliamentary committee level, including testimony by Wilson-Raybould, as well as Gerald Butts and Michael Wernick, former Trudeau principal secretary and clerk of the Privy Council, respectively. Both are now resigned from those senior positions of influence.
Wilson-Raybould had more to share with Canadians but was officially silenced.
After this week’s explosive report by parliamentary ethics commissioner Mario Dion, confirming and condemning Justin Trudeau’s attempts to influence the former attorney general, it is hardly likely Wilson-Raybould’s gag order may be either loosened or removed in the immediate future (read, prior to Oct. 21).
“The authority of the prime minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the director of public prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson-Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer,” the ethics commissioner said.
And what has this official finding led to? Are there unequivocal demands, unanimous across all sectors, for Trudeau’s resignation, or for the laying of a criminal charge of obstruction of justice? No.
Instead, the merit of Trudeau’s bafflegab and ethical self-elevation, as in he accepts full responsibility for his behaviour but won’t apologize for trying to save Canadian (SNC-Lavalin) jobs, is actually being debated.
Remember Trudeau’s claim in February that neither he nor his office engaged in attempts to direct Wilson-Raybould to intercede with federal prosecutors in support of a DPA over criminal charges for SNC-Lavalin?
Today, in the wake of the Dion report, if a line separating influencing and directing exists, it is a very fine line indeed.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.