SNC-Lavalin lowballed Ottawa City Council for winning light-rail bid, failed technical score
A day after SNC-Lavalin shareholders demanded more accountability from the Québec-based engineering firm, Ottawa residents learned their city council voted for SNC’s subpar and lowball $1.6 billion bid to build phase II of light-rail in the capital.
“When SNC failed the technical score, it gives me no comfort they can deliver the best product, or even a reasonable product,” councillor Diane Deans told 580 CFRA; she was among three councillors who voted against the proposal.
During tonight’s English Leaders’ Debate, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was asked which leader he wanted to ask a question of. He quickly pivoted toward Justin Trudeau eliciting laughter from the audience. He then asked Trudeau about the SNC-Lavalin affair: “When did you decide that the rules don’t apply to you?”
Scheer reminded Trudeau that it had been determined that he acted inappropriately in pressuring then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to pursue a deferred prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavalin. Scheer said, “You looked Canadians in the eye and told Canadians that the allegations in the Globe and Mail were false.”
Trudeau responded, “They were false” despite the findings of the Ethics Commissioner confirming the Globe and Mail‘s report that he and his government acted inappropriately.
Former Liberal party member, Jody Wilson-Raybould, said that she is “extremely disappointed” with the party and the Prime Minister after seeing Justin Trudeau dressed in brownface.
Wilson-Raybould was recently kicked out of the party. She was one of the casualties of the still-relevant SLC-Lavalin scandal, when she tried to resist the Prime Minister’s attempt to compromise her impartiality while she occupied the position of Attorney General.
“It’s awful,” Wilson-Raybould told reporters on Wednesday. “When I first saw it, I didn’t think it was real.”
The image in question shows a 29-year-old Trudeau at a high school “Arabian Nights” event, decked out in Arabic attire and wearing brown-black makeup on his face and hands.
“But I will say I’m incredibly proud to be an Indigenous person in this country, one that has experienced racism and discrimination.” Wilson-Raybould continued, “It’s completely unacceptable for anybody in a position of authority and power to do something like that.”
Wilson-Raybould is only one of many who are “extremely disappointed” over the brownface scandal.
Jane Philpott, a former health minister who also had to be removed from Trudeau’s caucus during SNC-Lavalin scandal, also voiced her condemnation of the disgraced Prime Minister.
Both are now running as independent candidates.
The RCMP have stopped short of confirming an investigation into the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
According to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, should the RCMP investigate the Trudeau government for the SNC-Lavalin scandal which has shattered the public’s image of the Trudeau government, they would do so seriously.
“Today we’re here for the Mr. Ortis investigation so I don’t want to comment very much. But we do take all investigations very seriously and investigate to the fullest,” said Lucki when asked whether the RCMP wants the government to waive cabinet confidentiality for all witnesses.
Interestingly enough, the RCMP will not confirm or deny an investigation into the Trudeau government, although they have interviewed Jody Wilson-Raybould, and faced difficulty interviewing others due to cabinet confidentiality.
For those tuning in recently, the SNC-Lavalin scandal involves attempted political interference by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with the justice system.
Canada’s Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, found after a six-month investigation that Trudeau improperly influenced then Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to step in an ongoing criminal case against Quebec-based construction company SNC-Lavalin.
The Ethics Commissioner report went so far as to conclude that Trudeau had contravened Section 9 of the federal Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring the Attorney General.
Commissioner Dion wrote that while Jody Wilson-Raybould was never officially directed to interfere, the influence put forward by the government was “tantamount to political direction.”
It’s often said, “the cover-up is worse than the crime.”
And while there may be some wisdom to that, it’s also true that an attempted cover-up can be a sign of something far worse than just an attempt to deceive.
Consider the resurgence of the SNC-Lavalin PMO Scandal.
The Liberals election kick-off has been devastated by two bombshell stories by the Globe and Mail, first revealing that the Liberals are blocking the RCMP from getting the information they need for a potential obstruction investigation, and then revealing that Jody Wilson-Raybould was interviewed by the RCMP this week.
As Siddak Ahuja reported earlier in The Post Millennial:
The reason behind the secrecy was cabinet confidentiality. Liberals say that a waiver for confidentiality was not provided by the Clerk of the Privy Council, meaning that people in the know-how did not have the privilege to speak to the RCMP or the Ethics Commissioner.
Earlier in the year, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion faced similar stonewalling during his inquiries which accumulated in the Trudeau II report alleging that the prime minister had broken ethics laws.
Now, we have to ask the following question: If the Liberals are willing to so blatantly block an investigation, what are they so afraid of Canadians finding out?
They must have known that their effort to block an investigation would leak out, especially in the chaotic atmosphere of an election campaign. And they must have known that their attempt to hide behind the Privy Council Clerk would fail, since the decision ultimately lies with Trudeau.
So, the Trudeau Liberals appear to have made the calculation that getting ripped for a cover-up and for blocking the RCMP is better than what would happen if the Canadian People found out the truth.
And that will make people wonder whether the Liberals are covering up crimes.
At this point, Canadians are right to be asking that question.
After all, the Liberals have done everything possible to block any true investigation at every turn, shutting down committees, refusing to waive cabinet confidentiality, and now even getting in the way of the RCMP.
The Liberals are now undeniably deploying a strategy of desperately pushing off any RCMP investigation or intervention until after the election, hoping they can make the scandal go away and then deal with the fallout after the campaign—since they arrogantly assume they’ll maintain power.
But in doing that, in denying the truth to Canadians, the Liberals are putting their own partisan interests above the interests of the Canadian People, and are making a mockery of the rule of law. That alone is reason enough for Trudeau and the Liberal cabal to be decisively defeated.
Former attorney-general and Liberal Party cabinet member Jody Wilson-Raybould was reportedly interviewed in Vancouver by the national division of the RCMP, according to an interview with The Globe and Mail.
Wilson-Raybould called for the Trudeau government to waive cabinet confidentiality for her, in which the members of the cabinet must not reveal the content of discussions which take place.
She also requested the confidentiality be waived for all other witnesses, as to allow a proper probe into potential obstruction of justice during the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
“I have had a meeting and I have been interviewed by the RCMP, and that meeting happened yesterday [Tuesday], and I am not going to comment any further on the nature of those conversations,” she said in the interview Wednesday.
“Of course I am concerned about the government’s decision to deny [the RCMP’s] request for access to other witnesses. As a matter of principle, the RCMP should be able to conduct thorough and necessary investigations.”
While the interview from The Globe and Mail appears to show the RCMP beginning to take the matter seriously, an earlier report from the news organization found that not only had the federal government blocked access to witnesses, the police force would also put its obstruction of justice inquiries on hold during the election period.
With this story breaking directly before the election and police stopping their investigation, it appears most if any immediate repercussions will occur at the polls, where the Liberals have actually made a surprising bounce back following the initial release of damning SNC-Lavalin affair information.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Governor General Julie Payette Wednesday morning to ask that she dissolve Parliament and plunge the country into its 43rd general election, evoked his tenure as leader of our G7 nation; an exercise in contradiction.
With hands clasped and appearing from the path to his cottage in Payette’s Rideau Hall backyard, Trudeau and his wife Sophie offered a photo opportunity worthy of HELLO! Canada’s gliterati pages.
When Trudeau emerged from Rideau Hall with Sophie, they walked around a group of Liberal supporters assembled behind a podium, where he dropped Sophie off to mingle with who he later described as “everyday Canadians”.
Trudeau’s speech and press conference were a ‘greatest soundbite hits’ from his four years in government: including how Liberals care more about the environment, the middle class, and growing the economy than do Conservatives.
And throughout his government’s caring time in office, it even “renegotiated NAFTA…at a time of U.S. protectionism and unpredictability.”
The PM also mentioned the differences between himself and vanquished foe Stephen Harper more often than his contemporary Conservative challenger Andrew Scheer; Trudeau and Sophie’s entrance alone, a stark contrast to Harper’s limousine motorcades’ past.
“Canadians once again get to vote for the kind of Canada they want to live in. We’ve all got choice to make: keep moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made or go back to the politics of the Harper years,” Trudeau declared.
“Conservatives like to say they’re for the people, but then they cut taxes for the wealthy, and cut services for everybody else.”
When Trudeau finished his pitch, he was immediately in the hot seat over SNC-Lavalin, once again.
The latest Globe and Mail report about the scandal that rocked his government, by tenacious press gallery veteran Robert Fife who broke the original story in February, suggests Trudeau and the Prime Minister’s Office did not cooperate with RCMP in its current probe of the affair.
Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion’s own investigation concluded in August that Trudeau’s attempt to pressure ex-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to defer prosecution of SNC’s bribery and corruption charges violated the Conflict of Interest Act.
Dion also noted that he too was obstructed by the Privy Council Office from interviewing nine witnesses for his scathing Trudeau II report.
Asked what he had to hide by restricting cabinet confidence waivers for RCMP on key witnesses, Trudeau said the waiver he already provided was “the largest and most expansive…of cabinet confidence in Canada’s history.”
“But the buck stops with you, you’re the boss,” the reporter pressed.
“We respect the decisions made by professional public servants. We respect the decision made by the clerk,” said Trudeau, who moments earlier was greeted at Payette’s front door by the new Privy Council clerk Ian Shugart.
During Trudeau’s and the PMO’s, four-month, full-court press to change Wilson-Raybould’s mind – she didn’t, and SNC-Lavalin will stand
Tapes secretly recorded by Wilson-Raybould which were released to media back in
Asked about demonizing Scheer, recently as a homophobe for skipping Pride then spreading a 14-year-old clip on social media of the Scheer describing “marriage” in the House of Commons as a union between a man and woman, Trudeau claimed he’s only about criticizing policy.
“I do not engage in personal attacks, but I will be very, very sharp in distinctions around policy,” said Trudeau. “Around how one engages with Canadians, the vision one puts forward. That is something Canadians deserve in an election, to see clear contrasts.”
Asked about SNC-Lavalin again, this time about Dion’s report and what Trudeau “did personally, wrong and the mistakes (he) made”, Trudeau pivoted to his claim that pressuring his former attorney general to go easy on the Québec-based construction firm, was really about defending jobs.
“My job is to stand up and defend Canadians’ jobs, whether its communities right across the country, pensioners, families,” said Trudeau. “I will always defend the public’s interests, I will always defend Canadians jobs.”
If SNC-Lavalin is convicted of the charges it bribed officials in Libya nearly $50 million to secure lucrative contracts in the failed North African state, the company would be banned from bidding on federal contracts for 10 years.
Claims of potential, real job losses in Canada related to current SNC-Lavalin contracts – it just finished the $2.1 billion phase I light-rail project in Ottawa and was tapped to build phase II – are dubious, regardless of the outcome of the looming trial.
Adding to the specious nature of Trudeau’s ‘protecting jobs’ defence for his conduct toward Wilson-Raybould is a caveat in the new legislative mechanism for deferred prosecution agreements.
Included in the Liberal government’s 2018 omnibus budget bill, after significant lobbying efforts by SNC-Lavalin, is a provision that forbids prosecutors from considering “the national economic interest” as reason to divert criminal charges to remediation.