Canadian Manufacturing

Trudeau repeats non-apology for ‘standing up for jobs’ in SNC-Lavalin affair

Prime Minister Trudeau intends to implement the recommendations of a separate report on the merits of having the justice minister and the attorney general under the same cabinet portfolio

August 15, 2019  The Canadian Press

FREDERICTON – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is repeating what’s sure to be his go-to election campaign message on the SNC-Lavalin affair: he’s not about to apologize for what he calls standing up for Canadian jobs, communities and citizens.

During an event in Fredericton this morning, Trudeau reiterated that he accepts Wednesday’s damning report from the federal ethics commissioner and takes full responsibility for what happened.

He also says the government intends to implement the recommendations of a separate report from former Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan on the merits of having the justice minister and the attorney general under the same cabinet portfolio.

That report recommends keeping the two jobs together, but better educating parliamentarians, cabinet ministers and staff members on how best to consult with federal attorneys general.

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Pressure is mounting on Trudeau to say he’s sorry to former cabinet members Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, but the prime minister is making it clear that no such apology will be forthcoming.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion concluded that the prime minister violated the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring Wilson-Raybould, who was attorney general at the time, to halt the criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Dion concluded that Trudeau’s attempts to influence Wilson-Raybould on the SNC-Lavalin prosecution contravened a provision of the ethics law, which prohibits public office holders from using their position to try to influence a decision that would improperly further the private interests of a third party.