The recent Ethics Commissioner’s report finding that Trudeau broke the law in his interference in the SNC-Lavalin criminal matter will undoubtedly leave many Canadians with the sense that justice has not been served.
It’s reminiscent of the ridiculous case when Trudeau was charged $100 for taking an illegal gift of $300. What is becoming ever more clear is that the Ethics Commissioner simply lacks the tools to ensure that justice is done when political corruption is found.
No wonder Trudeau wanted the entire controversy left in his hands.
The headlines of the Commissioner’s findings, however, buried the real story, which is that the federal Liberals were again trying to obstruct the course of justice by withholding evidence. All for the “greater good” of course.
You may remember that they also withheld evidence from Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s legal defence, by denying him access to his own emails showing his innocence. In that case, Vice-Admiral Norman was criminally charged after Trudeau repeatedly made public statements stating that Norman would inevitably be charged, despite the fact that no investigation had been opened.
Norman’s alleged crime was leaking the fact that the Liberals were trying to hand over a shipping contract to their Irving friends, through “Irving’s boy” Scott Brison, who resigned from cabinet over the matter, giving Trudeau a good excuse to demote then-AG Jody Wilson-Raybould. Pundits agreed that the leak was a routine event in the Ottawa bubble. Later on, the entire House of Commons except Trudeau would apologize to the Vice-Admiral for the fiasco, and a subsequent investigation would be blocked by “independent” Liberal senators.
So let’s pivot from our head of government marshalling the powers of the state against a private individual, then using his powers to withhold evidence from his defence, which caused him financial ruin until the government gave him a secret settlement. After all, the matter is done and there will almost certainly be no further investigations into this clear case of abuse of government powers.
About five months ago, I wrote this article looking into the way courts have interpreted section 139(2) of the Criminal Code, one of the two sections that Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer cited when calling on the RCMP to criminally investigate Trudeau for the SNC-Lavalin scandal. My opinion was then, and is now, that what Trudeau obstructed by threatening then-AG Wilson-Raybould fell within the “course of justice,” and that the fact that he failed to actually prevent a prosecution of his SNC-Lavalin friends did not save him.
What has changed now is that the Ethics Commissioner’s investigation, which should also fall within the “course of justice” under that section of the Criminal Code, was also apparently obstructed by the government. This is not mere speculation, it is an allegation made by the Ethics Commissioner himself. While it would be difficult for any prosecution to tie the prime minister personally and directly to such a crime, that does not save his Party from legal responsibility.
Criminal Code section 22 sets out the crime of directing others to commit a crime (in this case, obstructing the course of justice), while sections 22.1 and 22.2 sets out how an organization such as the Liberal Party can be found guilty of the same crime. Section 23 makes it a crime to help someone escape criminal prosecution, while section 24 sets out the crime of intentionally attempting to commit a criminal act.
In almost all cases, crimes are prosecuted provincially.
So decide for yourself whether the federal Liberals ought to be prosecuted for any or all of these three actions:
- inappropriately trying to save the probable criminals at SNC-Lavalin from facing justice through a trial
- inappropriately withholding evidence from an accused in the form of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s own emails; and
- even still, trying to prevent Canadians from learning the full truth by using their power to interfere with the Ethics Commissioner’s investigation.
The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General has a responsibility to prosecute crimes under the Criminal Code that occur within the Province of Ontario. If you are an Ontario resident that believes that the Ministry is not adequately doing its job, you can contact the Ministry and make your voice heard.