Parliament Video: Jenny in the House: Public inquiry on SNC-Lavalin scandal?

We knew that the halls of power were rigged for wealthy and corporate insiders. What the scandal over SNC-Lavalin has revealed in detail is just how far the Liberal government has gone to put the interests of the corporate elite over Canadians. The Liberal government keeps telling us how important an independent justice system is, but it all goes out of the window when it is their corporate friends in trouble. It is time for a public inquiry. Canadians deserve to know the whole truth:

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

"Mr. Speaker, we knew the halls of power were rigged for wealthy and corporate insiders. What the scandal over SNC-Lavalin has revealed in detail is just how far the Liberal government has gone to put the interests of the corporate elite over Canadians.

The Liberal government keeps telling us how important an independent justice system is, but it all goes out of the window when it is their corporate friends in trouble.

We now know that over the course of four months, the former attorney general faced sustained ongoing organized pressure from the Prime Minister and his office, the Privy Council Office and the office of the Minister of Finance to politically interfere by granting a deferred prosecution agreement to SNC-Lavalin. This was so SNC would not have to go to court and face bribery and fraud charges.

As we all know, the Attorney General cannot be pressured by the Prime Minister to intervene in decisions of the Public Prosecution Service. lt is entirely inappropriate. How many times did the former attorney general have to say no before the Prime Minister and his team listened? She repeatedly said no, yet they repeatedly ignored her and were consistent in their attempts to improperly pressure her to change her mind for their well-connected friends of the Liberals.

The Prime Minister first outright denied this even occurred. Then smear campaigns began to undermine the credibility of the former attorney general. They tried to label her as “difficult to work with”. One Liberal MP said it was “sour grapes”. Then it was simply that she interpreted the matter differently. As well, every effort was made to shut down the justice committee and the ethics committee.

When the former president of the Treasury Board resigned because she had lost the confidence of the Prime Minister over this matter, the finance minister suggested that she resigned because of her friendship with the former attorney general.

A Liberal MP called her “pathetic” and a “traitor”. Then leaks from the Liberal machine suggested that the Prime Minister came into conflict with the former attorney general because of a judicial appointment. The individual in question responded “I fear that someone is using my previous candidacy to the Supreme Court of Canada to further an agenda unrelated to the appointment process.”

The Liberal government had also tried to claim that 9,000 jobs would be lost if SNC did not receive a deferred prosecution agreement. Then SNC-Lavalin actually came out in a public statement to contradict that claim. Not only did the government fail to do an assessment of any potential job loss, according to the Criminal Code, the Public Prosecution Service is prevented from considering the “national economic interest” as a reason for issuing a deferred prosecution agreement. This specific text was introduced to Canadian law under the current Prime Minister's watch in accordance with an OECD anti-bribery convention.

lt seems pretty clear that the only job the Prime Minister is worried about is his own. What is clear is that the Prime Minister has continued to blame others and refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Both senior cabinet ministers now have been kicked out of the Liberal caucus and even after that, attempts continue to undermine the former attorney general.

Without a shred of evidence, the Liberal machine is suggesting that the former attorney general is trying to interfere with the new Attorney General's position on this matter. It is simply not credible. What we know from the Clerk of the Privy Council is that the Prime Minister was in a “mood” and that he was going “to get it done one way or another”.

It is time for a public inquiry. Canadians deserve to know the whole truth."

 

https://openparliament.ca/debates/2019/4/9/jenny-kwan-3/

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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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