Elizabeth May calls for expanded inquiry into potential conflict of interest in SNC-Lavalin affair

OTTAWA — The Leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) has called on Ethics Commission Mario Dion and the Office of the Conflict of Interest to expand the inquiry into potential violation of the Conflict of Interest Act in efforts to influence the decision of the former Attorney General of Canada concerning the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. Ms. May also wants the investigation powers of the Office to be delegated to a provincial commissioner and a public ruling issued at the end of the inquiry.

“There’s evidence that section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act has been violated,” said Ms. May. “Testimony submitted to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice shows that the Prime Minister, the Clerk of the Privy Council, staff from both the PMO and the Minister of Finance as well as others named by the former Attorney General pressured her to further the private interest of SNC-Lavalin by stopping the prosecution of the company.

“This is improper under the Shawcross Doctrine and also gives reason to believe that at least some of these people violated section 8 of the Act by using insider information to improperly further SNC-Lavalin’s interests by pressuring the Attorney General.”

The Shawcross Doctrine, delivered in the House of Lords in 1951 by then Attorney General Hartley Shawcross, acknowledges that the Attorney General must consider the impact of prosecution on the public interest.

“I am requesting, under subsections 44(1) and (2) of the Act,that Mr. Dion’s Office examine whether the Prime Minister and the other 11 people named by the former Attorney General in her testimony and in evidence she submitted to the Justice Committee, did indeed violate Section 9 or section 8 of the Act. Canadians deserve to have clarity on this issue once and for all.”