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Will RCMP Commissioner and officer answer key questions today about weak, lapdog Trudeau Cabinet/SNC-Lavalin investigation?

RCMP still hiding 2,200+ pages of investigation records in violation of the Access to Information Act

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, February 27, 2024

OTTAWA – Democracy Watch called on MPs on the House Ethics Committee to ask RCMP Commissioner Michael Duheme and lead investigating officer Frédéric Pincince key questions when they testify today from 11 am to 1 pm about the RCMP’s investigation into the Trudeau Cabinet/SNC-Lavalin scandal.  Click here to see the list of key questions.

The Ethics Committee hearing is happening 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”).

The disclosure of the records caused two MPs on the House Ethics Committee to file motions to call the RCMP and other witnesses to testify about why the investigation was so weak, delayed, secretive and biased in favour of the Trudeau Cabinet.  The Committee approved one of the motions and was supposed to hold the hearing on December 11, 2023, but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute by Committee Chair John Brassard.

In addition to hearing from the RCMP Commissioner and lead investigator today, the motion approves future hearings at which former Privy Council Office Clerk Michael Wernick, former Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion and (for some reason) very conflicted Interim Ethics Commissioner Konrad von Finckenstein (who should not be reappointed at the end of Feb.) will testify.

“The RCMP Commissioner and lead investigator must answer many 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, not trying to obtain key secret Cabinet communication records, and burying 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.”

In violation of the ATIA, the RCMP is still hiding about 2,200 pages of investigation records, and the Information Commissioner’s office is investigating DWatch’s complaint about the RCMPs’ now 20-month delay in disclosing the records.

A recent disclosure of related RCMP records to DWatch contains on p. 123 an email dated September 29, 2023 in which Rita Lattanzi-Thomas, Senior Consultant in the RCMP’s ATIP Branch writes that the 2,200 pages of documents are being reviewed to ensure they “will not reveal any investigation techniques etc.” and that the documents contain “the investigator’s notes (emails and notebook entries), witness interviews etc.” and that she is “hoping to have the remainder of the documents released on or before October 13, 2023.”  The records have still not been disclosed.

“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