Allegations have come to light that representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has attempted to influence the results of Canada’s supposedly independent justice system.
On Tuesday, former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet where she was recently moved to the Veterans Affairs portfolio. She is also seeking legal advice from a former judge about what she can say about her dealings with the PMO surrounding an explosive case of alleged criminal prosecution tampering.
The issue surrounds a Globe and Mail story suggesting the PMO tried to influence the results of a case against SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based engineering company facing bribery and fraud charges. Allegedly, the PMO “pressured” Wilson-Raybould to direct federal prosecutors to forward a plea bargain that would allow SNC-Lavalin to avoid a trial.
Just after this story exploded, allegations of further tampering came out of the Mark Norman case, which involves the prosecution of a former Canadian Navy Vice Admiral for supposedly leaking cabinet secrets.
Both situations can be defined as obstruction of justice.
Meanwhile, there appears to be no movement towards a legitimate investigation into the matter. Federal Ethics commissioner Mario Dion said he will investigate the PMO on possible contraventions of Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act, but this carries little weight considering how high this scandal seems to go. The last time a Prime Minister was found guilty of breaking federal ethics codes – PM Trudeau, conveniently enough – there was little consequence outside of embarrassment.
As of this week, the highest levels of Canada’s government seem to be getting away with manipulating the justice system via non-denial denials, muddled answers to pointed questions both in the House of Commons and from the media, and shuffling the federal cabinet.
The Liberal scandals under Trudeau’s leadership up until now have been petty in comparison. The ethics breach regarded a Trudeau family vacation to a private island owned by the Aga Khan.
Should there be any truth to these latest allegations, Canadians should be far more angered – and frightened. What do such actions say about a criminal justice system that is supposed to be blind to nothing but the truth?
If the federal government can influence the results of prosecutions for its alleged friends (it has been suggested that SNC-Lavalin has ties to the Liberal Party of Canada), what would the same federal government do to influence the prosecution of its political enemies?
How are we as free Canadians supposed to have any confidence in a justice system – a system that is supposed to be beyond arms-length reach of any political entity – that is guided by a PMO of any stripe?
Taking all into consideration, it appears our current federal government is not only in charge of the law of the land, but above it as well.
There is more to this story yet to come. Either the Globe and Mail story will be proven false, or we could be watching corruption being uncovered at a scale not seen in generations.