On Monday Canada’s opposition asked police to probe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after an ethics investigation found he broke rules by arm-twisting his attorney general to settle a criminal case.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s renewed call for an investigation into possible obstruction of justice, detailed in a letter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), comes only two months before national elections.
It follows independent parliamentary ethics commissioner Mario Dion´s rebuke of Trudeau over the breach — which the prime minister refused — and the recent expose that federal police had earlier this year taken an interest in the case involving engineering giant SNC-Lavalin
“Today, in light of both the ethics commissioner´s finding and the disclosures about the RCMP´s previous involvement, I have formally requested the RCMP take another look,” Scheer told a news conference.
He first asked for an RCMP probe in February.
“I believe (there) are significant grounds for an investigation into whether or not Justin Trudeau violated section 139 of the Criminal Code, obstructing justice,” he said.
“We know that Justin Trudeau has broken the law. We need to know if he has committed a crime.”
One of the world’s major engineering firms, Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, was charged in 2015 with paying bribes to secure contracts in Libya.
Attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould declined to ask prosecutors to settle the case, and a judge ruled in May that there was satisfactory indication to proceed to a trial.
But after resigning, she affirmed to lawmakers that she had experienced “consistent and sustained” political pressure to interfere in the case, including “veiled threats.”
According to a report last week, Dion concluded that Trudeau and his inner circle tried to “circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit” the decision not to offer SNC-Lavalin an out-of-court settlement that would have resulted in a fine and agreeing to compliance measures.
PM Trudeau has accepted mistakes but has rejected to apologize, quoting the company´s claims that a conviction at trial would deprive the company of lucrative government contracts resulting in up to 9,000 jobs lost.
“I can’t apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs,” Trudeau said last Wednesday.