Ethics commissioner says Trudeau broke rules in SNC-Lavalin affair

The federal ethics commissioner says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act during the so-called SNC-Lavalin affair.

In a report released Wednesday, Mario Dion says Trudeau used his position of authority to improperly pressure former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

He says Trudeau’s attempts to influence Wilson-Raybould on the matter contravened section 9 of the act, 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.

Dion says there is no doubt that the Montreal engineering giant’s financial interests would have been furthered had Trudeau successfully convinced Wilson-Raybould, who was justice minister at the time, to issue a directive that SNC‑Lavalin be invited to negotiate a remediation agreement in order to avoid criminal prosecution on fraud charges related to contracts in Libya.

Wilson-Raybould quit Trudeau’s cabinet in February over the matter. She was later kicked out of Trudeau’s cabinet along with her friend and cabinet ally Jane Philpott, who also resigned shortly after the affair.

Trudeau’s political rivals responded to the report on Twitter. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called out Trudeau in a tweet posted shortly after the report was released. “Justin Trudeau said he would be accountable and ethical. Instead he used the power of his office to reward his supporters and punish his critics,” Scheer wrote.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also posted a tweet accusing Trudeau of “helping his wealthy and well-connected friends, at the expense of Canadians.”