Please support democracy

Without your support, Democracy Watch can't win key changes to stop governments and big businesses from abusing their power and hurting you and your family. Please click here to support democracy now

Summary of Contents of Records Disclosed on September 22, 2023 by RCMP in response to Democracy Watch’s July 2022 Access to Information Act request for all records of the investigation into alleged obstruction of justice by the Trudeau Cabinet aimed at stopping the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin

(1,815 pages total disclosed, with more than 2,185 pages still to be disclosed)

The summary below is a summary of the contents of the following 4 records, which are the only records of the 19 records disclosed that are not fully redacted or already publicly available:

  1. General Findings and Analysis: Trudeau II Report, by Sgt. Pincince, dated Sept. 6, 2019 (19 pages).
  2. Assessment Report: Obstruction of Justice – SNC-Lavalin Affair, by Sgt. Pincince dated Feb. 2, 2021 (134 pages).
  3. Conclusions and Recommendations: Obstruction of Justice – SNC-Lavalin Affair, by Sgt. Pincince and Sgt. Arbour, and signed by Supt. MacLean, dated March 4, 2021 (8 pages).
  4. RCMP “PROS” Record containing summary of investigation chronology and list of investigation records (75 pages with some pages fully or partially redacted (what happened on March 22, 2019 (pages 7-8) is redacted completely, and information appears to be redacted also from pages 14, 18, 23, 25-27, 34-38 and 40).

Records 5, 6 and 7, which contain the legal advice given to the RCMP concerning the investigation, are all fully redacted.

Records 8-19 are already publicly available, and consist of copies of:

  • the Public Prosecution of Canada’s Handbook (Record 8);
  • the August 2019 Trudeau II Report by the federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner (Record 9);
  • a compilation of publicly available news articles (Record 10);
  • two House of Commons committee testimony and evidence transcripts (Records 11-12);
  • four federal statutes (records 13-16);
  • two Government of Canada reports re: the consultation on remediation and deferred prosecutions for corporations (Records 17-18), and;
  • Anne McClelland report for the Government of Canada on the roles of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General (Record 19).

Click here to see the full list of 19 records.

The following is the summary of the contents of the above Records #1-4 listed above:

  1. The investigation, which began at the end of February 2019 by the RCMP’s Sensitive and International Investigations Unit, was mainly in the hands of RCMP Sgt. Fred Pincince (Record #1-3, and Record #4, various pages), and was overseen only somewhat by the Regional Crown Office of Ontario’s Minister of Attorney General (all names of people involved from that office are redacted: Record #4, pages 5 on), and more directly internally RCMP Legal Counsel, National Special Adviser – Financial Crimes Investigations John Ahern (Record #2, para. 317, page 130; Record #4, various pages (esp. pages 33-38)).
  2. The investigation is called an “assessment” by the RCMP, even though Sgt. Pincince is clearly investigating whether obstruction of justice ( 139(2) of the Criminal Code) or intimidation of a justice system participant (clause 423.1(1)(b) of the Code) had occurred. Whether anyone committed a breach of trust (s. 122 of the Code) was not considered at all by the RCMP (Record #2, paras. 10-11, page 9; Record #3, para. 3, page 1; para. 10, page 4; and para. 12-14, pages 4-5).
  3. Pincince evaluated the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner’s August 2019 Trudeau II Report as part of the process (Record #1).
  4. The 16 times from August 14, 2018 to December 19, 2018 that PMO and Cabinet officials pressured then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould or her staff to to stop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin are detailed (Record #2, pages 90-110).
  5. What happened on March 22, 2019 is redacted completely from Record #4, pages 7-8, and information appears to be redacted also from Record #4, pages 14, 18, 23, 25-27, 34-38 and 40.
  6. Wilson-Raybould met with RCMP officers on May 1, 2019 (Record #4, pages 12-13) and disclosed that she used a “burner phone” while abroad, and that members of her staff other than those she mentioned while testifying before the Justice Committee knew of the details of the situation. On Record #4, page 65, it is disclosed that the RCMP Sgt. Pincince asked her on May 1st not to disclose that she had met with the RCMP.
  7. On May 16, 2019, the RCMP requested from the Department of Justice a waiver and authorization for access to documents that Ms. Wilson-Raybould was not allowed to disclose to the House Justice and Human Rights Committee under federal Cabinet Order in Council 2019-0105, but that request was denied on August 30, 2019 (Record #2, paras. 82-83, page 30). The RCMP did not apply to court for access to the other documents, or for the record of communications on computers, phones and all other devices used by Prime Minister Trudeau and all the other Cabinet officials involved in pressuring Ms. Wilson-Raybould and her staff (Record #2, para. 300-301, page 126; paras. 331-334, page 134; Record #3, paras. 5 (p. 2) and 21-23 (p. 7))).
  8. Instead, the RCMP relied entirely on the public claims made by all these people which, of course, were all aimed at trying to make it seem like they had done nothing wrong. The RCMP also characterized all of the statements by all these people in a favourable way whenever possible, and always argued in favour of doubts concerning the success of a prosecution (Record #2, paras. 259, page 117; para. 278, page 121; paras. 295-299, pages 125-126; paras. 313-334, pages 130-134 – especially paras. 318, 320-32, 323-326, 328-330; Record #3, subparas. 9(e), (g) and (h), pages 3-4; paras. 15-18, pages 5-6; and paras. 19-20, pages 6-7).
  9. Investigating officer Sgt. Pincince initially established that, to prove obstruction of justice in court, pressure must have been placed on someone to obstruct a proceeding in the justice system, and that such pressure had been put on Ms. Wilson-Raybould by Prime Minister Trudeau and various other Cabinet officials (Record #2, para. 234, page 87; para. 239, pages 88, and; para. 249, page 111) to obstruct the proceeding of a prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
  10. However, Sgt. Pincince then switches the standard to require proof of “a corrupt intent to interfere” before a prosecution for obstruction would be pursued (Record #2, paras. 250-301 (pp. 111-126 – especially paras. 287-290)).
  11. Wilson-Raybould met with RCMP officers again on September 9, 2019 and provided them with three documents (Record #2, para. 179, page 55; Record #4, pages 18-19)
  12. On Sept. 13, 2019, the RCMP began investigating lobbying activities regarding SNC-Lavalin (Record #4, page 19).
  13. On October 11, 2019, Sgt. Pincince met with Nathalie Drouin to obtain a witness statement, and she gave him three documents (Record #2, para. 182, pages 55-56; Record #4, page 20).
  14. In December 2019, the RCMP received a document disclosure from Ms. Wilson-Raybould (Record #2, para. 180, page 55).
  15. In January 2020, the RCMP received a document disclosure from Jessica Prince (Record #2, para. 183, page 56).
  16. On January 28, 2020, Jane Philpott met with the RCMP with regard to the Cabinet shuffle (Record #2, para. 185, page 56; Record #4, pages 26-27).
  17. Wilson-Raybould met with RCMP officers for a third time on Feb. 19, 2020 ((Record #2, para. 181, page 55; Record #4, page 30).
  18. On October 25, 2020, Ms. Prince met with RCMP officers, a meeting that had been first requested on September 18, 2019 (Record #2, para. 184, page 56; Record #4, pages 19 and 33-34).
  19. On February 2, 2021, Sgt. Pincince completed the investigation Assessment Report (Record #2).
  20. Sometime in March-April 2021, Supt. Mike MacLean supplied the investigation reports to RCMP headquarters (Record #4, pages 39-40; Record #3).
  21. On March 23, 2021, RCMP Supt. Mike MacLean sent an email to Sgt. Pincince that contained the following statements from RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s office (Record #4, page 39):
    1. We need confirmation that we spoke to prosecution and that we did not have enough to substantiate any charge
    2. Need to confirm that we pushed as hard as possible and explored every avenue to meet and speak to any/all witnesses
    3. Need to confirm that we have exhausted all avenues to get evidence.
  1. On Sept. 13, 2021, in response to a request from Supt. MacLean, Sgt. Pincince forwarded to the Commanding Officer of National Division the Assessment Report, Legal Opinion and Conclusion Report (Record #4, page 40).
  2. On Dec. 20, 2021, Sgt. Pincince received an email from Supt. MacLean that “a decision was made but had not yet been communicated” (Record #4, page 41).
  3. One year and one month later, on Jan. 25, 2023, Sgt. Pincince and Sgt. Lisa Williams communicated the decision to Ms. Wilson Raybould, and on Jan. 26 sent a letter to Conservative MP Andrew Scheer (Record #4, page 42).
  4. Almost four months passed before, on May 16, 2023, the investigation file was reviewed for conclusion, and on May 19, 2023 Sgt. Pincince informed the ATIP Coordinator of the file conclusion (Record #4, page 42).