OTTAWA – Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) said today she was astonished by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first full statement on the SNC-Lavalin scandal. “It is clear that the effort to get SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) continues to drive all aspects of handling the issue,” said Ms. May. “We are not in a position to look back at mistakes made. We are in the throes of an ongoing effort to get a DPA for SNC- Lavalin.”
Greens believe that the opportunity to learn lessons starts with understanding the principle of prosecutorial independence. The primary decision on whether to prosecute rests on the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP’s decision is based on a legal analysis of the evidence against a corporate defendant. The Attorney General’s job is to review the DPP’s decision to ensure that the evidence and legal principles are properly applied.
“In his evidence to the justice committee yesterday, the prime minister’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts demonstrated that he did not understand this principle when he spoke dismissively of the former Attorney General’s review of ’12 days.’ That ignored the work that had already gone into the Section 13 analysis by the DPP,” said Ms. May.
“We have now moved from inappropriate pressure on the former Attorney General to a propaganda campaign preparing Canadians for the new Attorney General to do what Jody Wilson-Raybould refused to do. And we still don’t have a single independent review confirming a threat to 9,000 jobs.”
Ms. May said that Justin Trudeau still has an opportunity to restore Canadians’ trust. “In the next Cabinet shuffle, restore Jody Wilson-Raybould as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, ask Jane Philpott to take up the reins at Indigenous Services, promote the current Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Board, Joyce Murray, to President of the Treasury Board and let Seamus O’Regan go to Veterans Affairs.
“The failure to grasp the importance of prosecutorial independence and the failure to seek evidence before succumbing to job blackmail are at the heart of this scandal,” said Ms. May. “We still require an independent review of the inappropriate pressure on our former Attorney General. And we need a team of corporate governance experts to prepare scenarios to protect jobs if SNC-Lavalin is convicted.”