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Democracy Watch again calls on RCMP and prosecutors to issue update on investigation into obstruction of SNC-Lavalin prosecution by Trudeau Cabinet officials

RCMP recently disclosed documents about investigation into Trudeau’s Aga Khan trip gift under Access to Information Act – must disclose same documents about SNC-Lavalin investigation

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released the second letter it has sent calling on the RCMP and Crown prosecutors to issue a full, public explanation of the state of the investigation into the allegation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Finance Minister Bill Morneau, some members of their staff, and former Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick obstructed justice by pressuring then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to stop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. Democracy Watch sent a letter with the same request in February 2021.

The letter sets out several reasons why the public deserves, and has a right to, a public explanation of all decisions concerning the investigation, and any decisions concerning prosecutions. One of the main reasons is that three years have passed since the situation was first made public, and many of the facts of the situation have also been known for almost two years, and so an update is long overdue. As well, the RCMP recently disclosed documents under the Access to Information Act explaining its decisions concerning its investigation into the Aga Khan’s trip gift to Trudeau and his family.

“Given the evidence, and that three years have passed since the situation was made public, and almost two years since the Ethics Commissioner’s ruling revealed many of the facts concerning Prime Minister Trudeau and other government officials pressuring the Attorney General, the public has a right to an update on the RCMP’s investigation, and any decisions that have been made concerning prosecuting anyone involved in the situation,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch and Ph.D. student at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. “The RCMP recently disclosed documents under federal access to information law about its investigation of the Aga Khan’s trip gift to Trudeau and his family, and so it can, and must, also disclose the same documents about its investigation of the SNC-Lavalin scandal.”

“Are the RCMP and prosecutors waiting for a third federal election to pass, or doing what often happens in Canada when powerful politicians and government officials are involved in alleged illegal activities – delaying with the hope that they can eventually bury the results of the investigation?” said Conacher.

Other reasons set out in the letter why the RCMP’s silence on the situation since August 2019 is unacceptable, include:

  1. Obstruction of justice is a serious criminal offence.
  2. Obstruction of justice is even more serious when committed behind closed doors by government politicians and officials, as it is then also an act of government corruption.
  3. As summarized in the letter, all of the elements needed to prove obstruction of justice (subsection 139(2) of the Criminal Code) are present in the actions of the Prime Minister and others as they pressured the Attorney General multiple times to stop the prosecution.
  4. Concerning intent, federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion concluded in 284 of his August 2019 ruling that “Mr. Trudeau knowingly sought to influence Ms. Wilson-Raybould both directly and through the actions of his agents.”
  5. Many legal and political experts dispute the claim by the Clerk of the Privy Council, and Prime Minister Trudeau, that it is proper for Cabinet to refuse to waive Cabinet confidence and prohibit the RCMP (and the Ethics Commissioner) from seeing all documents and records concerning the actions of the Prime Minister and the other government officials in this situation, and prohibit all government witnesses to provide full testimony, as can be seen in a September 13, 2019 Globe article.
  6. Prosecutors in Canada have, in recent years, usually provided public explanations of investigation and prosecution decisions in such cases (for example, B.C. special prosecutors in several recent cases, and the Commissioner of Canada Elections concerning the robocalls situation).

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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 and Stop Unfair Law Enforcement Campaign