Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he has not been personally contacted by the RCMP concerning the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Trudeau was responding to statements made by former cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who in her new book says that, as recently as January 2021, the RCMP was still considering whether to investigate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in the matter. She did not offer evidence to back up that assertion.
Trudeau said Sunday he had not been contacted by the federal police force over the issue, and skirted questions on whether cabinet confidences had gotten in the way of a complete airing of the matter.
“I have no information to share with you on that,” Trudeau told reporters.
The RCMP has not responded to requests from CBC News to confirm or deny whether it is still examining the case.
The federal Conservatives said Sunday that the possibility the RCMP were still engaged on the issue was a “troubling detail.” The Conservatives also pointed to pages in the book where Wilson-Raybould alleges that the decision not to waive all cabinet confidences was not related to protecting the “underlying importance” of those confidences, but instead was a political decision.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is denying a report that his office pressured former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the case against construction giant SNC-Lavalin. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Trudeau said Sunday that parliamentary committees had heard substantial testimony and “dissected this in every possible way,” including “thoroughly” before the last election.
The affair, revealed first in 2019 by reporting in the Globe and Mail, centred on whether Trudeau improperly put pressure on Wilson-Raybould to offer a deferred prosecution agreement to SNC-Lavalin in an ongoing bribery case related to contracts in Libya. A report by Canada’s ethics commissioner concluded that he had done so.
The affair eventually led to the resignations of Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott, Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts and Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick.
Wilson-Raybould’s full memoir, Indian in the Cabinet, Speaking Truth to Power, is set to be released Tuesday.
‘I did not want her to lie’: Trudeau
Trudeau had already responded Saturday to allegations by Wilson-Raybould that in February 2019 she had felt he wanted her to lie about the issue.
“In that moment I know he wanted me to lie – to attest that what had occurred had not occurred.”
“I did not want her to lie. I would never ask her that. That is simply not true,” Trudeau told reporters Saturday.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said Saturday that the re-emergence of the affair once more brought Trudeau’s credibility into question.
“Canadians no longer believe Justin Trudeau. We saw with how he treated Jody Wilson-Raybould, how he put the interests of a corporate entity lobbying about a judicial proceeding ahead of doing the right thing.”
At a campaign stop Sunday in Sudbury, Ont., NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh contended that the revelations in Wilson-Raybould’s book fit a pattern for the Liberal leader.
“The trend that we’ve seen is Mr. Trudeau has really held himself out to be feminist, really dug deep and put that out there, again and again,” Singh said. “And then we’re seeing actions that are to the contrary, sadly.”
The NDP leader drew a link to sexual misconduct allegations in the Canadian Armed Forces and Trudeau’s lack of action in setting up an independent reporting process for women in uniform.
Trudeau says one thing and does another, Singh said, “and Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould’s powerful story really exposes another side of that.”