Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act says, “Public office holders are prohibited from using their position to seek to influence a decision to improperly further the private interests of a third party.”
The commissioner said, “Because SNC-Lavalin overwhelmingly stood to benefit, I have no doubt the result of Mr. (Justin) Trudeau’s influence would have furthered SNC interests.”
I find Commissioner Mario Dion’s reasoning of equating “private interests” in the statue to Trudeau’s concern about national interests, as faulty and misleading.
Trudeau was doing his job. At the level of consideration required in the prime minister office, politics and national interests are one and the same. They can not be separated, they must just be dealt with.
Of course, SNC would benefit that is why the deferred prosecution agreement was brought in, to protect innocent third-party jobs attached to SNC.
In my reasoning of the events, the prime minister has no reason to apologize. Maybe the process can be cleaned up a bit. The PM has the ultimate responsibility and duty to communicate with any ministry if he perceives threats to the national interest. There is no personal gain here.
The report paints an unflattering portrait of Jody Wilson-Raybould as hard to get along with. Early on, a cutting letter to cabinet colleagues admonishing them for their lack of knowledge about aboriginal issues that only she understood raised red flags in the minds of her colleagues and this tension spilled over into the SNC file and the development of new first time precedence-setting legislation.
SNC-Lavalin is not a pariah; it is a Canadian company with innocent third parties, seeking to reform and asking the government for help. Wilson-Raybould says that she was surprised that the company proposed the use of a DPA. Is this different than Aboriginals who lobby?
And, about the many conversations held by her colleagues and political staffers, around SNC,” she said, “I was not aware of that.”
Reading her response, I have to wonder was her head in the sand? And now after she read the report, did she suddenly have an epiphany to what was actually going on around her?
The prime minister said, “I can not apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs.”
And I agree with him.