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Democracy Watch comments on Ethics Commissioner ruling that agreed with its complaint that PM Trudeau violated the federal ethics law by pressuring Attorney General to drop SNC-Lavalin prosecution

DWatch considering court challenge of part of Ethics Commissioner’s ruling that actions of other Trudeau PMO and Cabinet ministers and staff not covered by the ethics law as they were directed by Trudeau

RCMP must issue public explanation if they decide not to prosecute PM for obstruction of justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

OTTAWA — Today, Democracy Watch applauded the part of the Ethics Commissioner’s ruling that found Prime Minister Trudeau violated section 9 the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly trying to influence the Attorney General to drop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The ruling agreed completely with the points argued in the complaint Democracy Watch filed on February 8, 2019, which can be seen here.

The Ethics Commissioner’s ruling can be seen here.

Democracy Watch filed a follow-up complaint on March 5, 2019 about other PMO officials, Cabinet ministers and their staff also pressuring the Attorney General. That complaint can be seen here.

Unfortunately, in paragraphs 262-281 of his ruling (pages 41-44), the Ethics Commissioner summarizes the actions of PMO officials, Cabinet ministers and their staff that put pressure on the Attorney General. However, in paragraphs 282-286, the Ethics Commissioner excuses the actions of everyone except Prime Minister Trudeau on the very questionable basis that the other officials “could not have influenced the Attorney General” and were acting “under the direction or authority of the Prime Minister…”

Attempting to influence the Attorney General violates Rule 9, and these officials attempted to influence the Attorney General — it is irrelevant whether they had the same power over the PM as the PM has. For this reason, DWatch is considering challenging this part of the Ethics Commissioner’s ruling in court.

“The Ethics Commissioner made the right ruling by finding Prime Minister Trudeau guilty of violating the ethics law for pressuring the Attorney General to drop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, but he should have also found other PMO and government officials guilty because they also pressured the Attorney General,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “Democracy Watch is considering challenging in court the part of the Ethics Commissioner’s ruling that lets the other PMO and government officials off the hook given they, like the Prime Minister, clearly violated the federal ethics law.”

Given the evidence in the Ethics Commissioner’s ruling, Democracy Watch also called on the RCMP to issue a full, public explanation before the election if they decide not to prosecute the PM for obstruction of justice.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179   Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Government Ethics Campaign