Letter: SNC-Lavalin affair needs full investigation

As many as 9,000 jobs could be affected if the company shuts down

To the editor:

We all have heard how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and several other officials of the Trudeau government tried for several weeks to coerce Canada’s former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to secretly change her decision to not defer an ongoing criminal investigation involving corruption by chief executives of a major Quebec-based company called SNC-Lavalin.

These executives have a long history of corruption. If found guilty of the current charges, the company could be shut down for ten years. An estimated 9,000 jobs could be affected, over 3,500 in Quebec.

The shutdown of SNC-Lavalin could be politically devastating for PM Trudeau and his Liberal government. Therefore, he and several of his top advisers, according to Wilson-Raybould’s sworn testimony, tried to coerce her to change her mind and defer the charges against the corrupt SNC-Lavalin executives.

Such interference, if perpetrated by the PM, Morneau and others, is a criminal offence in Canada.

Wilson-Raybould refused to capitulate to the pressure from the PM and members of his cabinet. Suddenly, she was removed as attorney general.

After being removed from office, Wilson-Raybould was severely criticized by Liberal cabinet members in an attempt to discredit anything she might have to say. In fact, she was not allowed to speak about the matter for several weeks. Only after much public outcry did the PMO allow her voice to be heard.

In a national announcement after her explanation of the matter, the PM claimed that Wilson-Raybould’s release was planned prior to this incident and had nothing to do with her decision to not defer the criminal investigation of SNC-Lavalin. Canadians with half a brain know that is a lie.

The PM did not admit any wrongdoing, even though Wilson-Raybould had detailed every action of possible criminal coercion that took place. Rather, he passed off what appears to be the criminality of himself and his cabinet members as a non-event, claiming a “misunderstanding” between himself and Wilson-Raybould. He and others involved in this scandalous action were only trying to “save jobs”.

Is the PM’s half-baked public non-apology for suspicion of criminal intervention sufficient? No!

This matter needs to be fully investigated and, if convicted, those who coerced Wilson-Raybould need to be jailed for corruption while they were in the highest public offices in the land.

Garry Rayner

West Kelowna

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