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Committee needs to ask RCMP Commissioner key questions today about weak Trudeau Cabinet/SNC-Lavalin investigation

RCMP still hiding internal communication records about almost 2-year delay in investigation, and who made decision not to prosecute anyone

Public inquiry needed into why RCMP’s national command tried to cover up its investigation, and why they rolled over and didn’t prosecute anyone

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

OTTAWA – Democracy Watch called on MPs on the House Public Accounts Committee to ask RCMP Commissioner Michael Duheme key questions about the RCMP’s investigation into the Trudeau Cabinet/SNC-Lavalin scandal when he testifies today from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

The RCMP has not yet disclosed to the House Ethics Committee the internal communications records that Commissioner Duheme committed to provide quickly to the Committee (See p. 18 of the Evidence) at the Committee’s meeting on February 27, 2024.

The five key, still-unanswered questions for Commissioner Duheme are as follows (and, if he can’t or won’t answer them, then a House Committee must call former Commissioner Brenda Lucki to testify and answer them):

1. Why did the RCMP national command wait almost two years (from March 2021 to January 2023) to make its decision to end its superficial investigation of the situation without even doing a full investigation — in other words, why did the RCMP national command attempt to bury and cover-up its investigation?

2. Who exactly in the RCMP was involved in making the decisions through the March 2021 to January 2023 time period to delay, bury and cover-up the RCMP’s investigation?

3. Who exactly in the RCMP was involved in making the decision not to prosecute anyone?  When exactly was that decision made?

4. Who did these RCMP officers communicate with while making these delay and failure to prosecute decisions? Did they communicate with anyone in the PCO or Trudeau Cabinet or Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)?

5. Why did the RCMP’s investigating officer initially establish that, to prove obstruction of justice in court, pressure must have been placed on someone to obstruct a proceeding in the justice system (which the RCMP had clear evidence of), but then switched the standard to require proof of “a corrupt intent to interfere”?

The House Ethics Committee’s February 27, 2024 meeting occurred because the RCMP sent Democracy Watch a letter on September 22nd disclosing 1,815 pages of very questionable investigation records in response to DWatch’s July 2022 Access to Information Act (ATIA) request for all records of the RCMP’s investigation of the allegation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Liberal Cabinet officials obstructed justice by pressuring then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to stop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin in 2018 (now operating under the name “AtkinsRéalis”).  At the time of that Ethics Committee meeting, the RCMP was still withholding more than 2,200 pages of investigation records.

“The RCMP Commissioner still needs to answer several key questions because the evidence that has been disclosed so far shows that the RCMP is a negligently weak lapdog that rolled over for Prime Minister Trudeau by doing a very superficial investigation into his Cabinet’s obstruction of the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, didn’t try to obtain key secret Cabinet communication records, and buried the investigation with an almost two-year delay,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “The RCMP also misled the public by claiming it wasn’t investigating, continues to violate the open government law by keeping thousands of pages of investigation records secret much longer than is allowed, and is refusing to disclose the legal details why no one was prosecuted.”

“Given pressure by the Prime Minister and Cabinet officials to obstruct a prosecution is a situation that has not been revealed publicly before, and given no past court ruling makes it clear that the RCMP and Crown prosecutors could not win a prosecution, they should have tried to get a search warrant for secret Cabinet communications, and prosecuted so a judge could decide in an open court whether obstruction had occurred instead of making a behind-closed-doors and very questionable decision to cover up their investigation,” said Conacher.

“If the RCMP does not answer the many key questions about its weak, lapdog investigation, and does not disclose all of its investigation records, then a public inquiry will be needed to determine why the RCMP’s national command tried to cover up its investigation, and exactly how and why they and Crown prosecutors decided not to prosecute anyone,” said Conacher.

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Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
Email: [email protected]

Democracy Watch’s Government Ethics Campaign, Open Government Campaign and Stop Unfair Law Enforcement Campaign