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Liberals on a sticky ground?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on August 23, 2019 with No Comments

“The SNC-Lavalin affair is and will remain a fresh fodder for parties for attack the Liberals, and for the citizens to make a choice –whom to vote for. The ball now is in people’s court”.

Has Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lost his popularity? Going by the opinion polls the answer seems to be yes. With elections just two months away, is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party on a sticky wicket?  The obvious reason for raising this question is the finding by the Federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion.  His findings directly put the Prime Minister and his office under suspicion after having through the scanner of the office of the Ethics Commissioner. The findings clearly say that the Prime Minister and his office violated the Conflict Of Interest Act in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. All this while the Prime Minister has been issuing consistent denials for having done anything wrong. The findings also mention about two former Liberal cabinet ministers namely Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott who alongwith Prime Minister tried to influence the criminal justice process as it dealt with allegations of bribery by the Quebec engineering firm. The ethics commissioner not only found that Trudeau and his close circle of staffers improperly pressured Wilson-Raybould to change a decision made by her director of public prosecutions in a criminal case; they did it to further the interests of the company charged, SNC-Lavalin. All this puts a big question mark on the chances of a next Liberal government.

Ethics Commissioner had even called the influence as “undue”.  Mario Dion has methodically gathered the evidence and told Canadians in a simple language that the prime minister who hired him had broken the law and the justice minister who refused to appease the boss on principle had done her “due diligence” in defence of the rule of law. 

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion in the report mentions that Prime Minister Trudeau and his top advisors worked to “circumvent,” “undermine” and “discredit” a justice department decision to proceed with a criminal corruption and bribery case against SNC-Lavalin, rather than offer a so-called deferred prosecution agreement.

However, there is saving grace that the Liberals may use to their advantage. So far, the Trudeau government has been the subject of five ethics investigations, compared to eight such inquiries in the nine years of Stephen Harper’s government. The ethics commissioner found wrongdoing in three of the five investigations into the Liberals, and five of the eight inquiries into the Conservatives. But will the Canadians go by those numbers of the conduct of the Liberal government will be prime on their mind?

After the report was released, Prime Minister Trudeau has taken the responsibility for the matter but hasn’t apologized. His only point of defense is that his mediation was for public interest and Wilson Rayould didn’t let him know that she felt pressured.

The ethics commissioner has done his job, and in a short period of 8 weeks, the ball would in the court of the Canadians and a chance to make a decision.

The SNC-Lavalin affair is and will remain a fresh fodder for parties for attack the Liberals, and for the citizens to make a choice –whom to vote for. The ball now is in people’s court.


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