Scheer calls for RCMP investigation of PM involvement in SNC-Lavalin affair

Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson Raybould walks to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 26 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Sean Kilpatrick

Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson Raybould walks to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 26 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS Sean Kilpatrick

"Justin Trudeau simply can not continue to govern this country now that Canadians know what he has done and that is why I am calling on Mr. Trudeau to do the right thing and to resign", Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who is slated to run against Trudeau in Canada's upcoming October 2019 election, said in a statement to reporters.

Canada's former attorney general testified Wednesday she experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to inappropriately interfere in the prosecution of a major Canadian engineering company and said the effort included "veiled threats".

Over almost four hours of explosive testimony Wednesday, Wilson-Raybould told the House of Commons justice committee there were 10 meetings and 10 phone calls involving 11 people between September and December 2018, all aimed at getting her to "politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada".

Trudeau said Wilson-Raybould was moved from her post as justice minister to veterans affairs in January, two weeks after she last rejected pressure from Trudeau's staff to defer prosecution, because senior cabinet minister Scott Brison announced he was leaving politics, "which created a number of opportunities and consequences that we moved forward on".

When asked about the appropriateness of these discussions, the Prime Minister maintained that both he and his staff acted in an "appropriate" and "professional" manner.

Trudeau responded that he "completely disagrees with the former attorney general's characterization of events".

Mr Andrew Scheer, leader of the official opposition Conservative Party, demanded the resignation of what he called a disgraced prime minister. "Further, the RCMP must immediately open an investigation if it has not already done so into the numerous examples of obstruction of justice", said Scheer.

She argues it amounted to interference in the judicial system, though concedes it wasn't illegal, while Trudeau says he was trying to prevent job losses in his home province of Quebec. "As we enter a critical budget debate, and with other pressing matters of public interest in need of action, Mr. Trudeau's cabinet must now find a way forward without him".

Among those who pressured her, Wilson-Raybould testified, was Michael Wernick, the Clerk of the Privy Council - Canada's top civil servant.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is up for re-election in eight months, and he's suddenly facing the biggest political scandal of his career. It centers around allegations that SNC-Lavalin bribed officials in the Libyan government under strongman Muammar Gaddafi between 2001 and 2011.

Initially, after the first Globe and Mail report on the SNC-Lavalin affair, the accusations were dismissed by Trudeau and the PMO.

Days later, Wilson-Raybould's chief of staff was summoned into a meeting with Butts and Trudeau's chief of staff Katie Telford to discuss SNC-Lavalin. "A prime minister who doesn't know where the Liberal Party ends and where the government of Canada begins".

He said the ethics committee and justice committee is investigating the case.

Trudeau also participated in this "sustained effort", according to Wilson-Raybould, and at one point he directly implied that Wilson-Raybould should consider the party's political fortunes in Quebec.

If convicted criminally, the company would be banned from receiving any federal government business for a decade.

SNC-Lavalin has said it's no longer focused on getting a remediation agreement, but instead on fighting the case.

"The government likes to say, 'We were anxious about jobs.' What was clear from her [Wilson-Raybould's] statement was they were anxious about electoral concerns and a favoured company", said McLeod.

The corporation: SNC-Lavalin is one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies.

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