15 Aug 2019
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau violated federal conflict of interest rules in the handling of a corruption inquiry, the federal ethics tsar has found.
The ethics commissioner says Mr Trudeau improperly tried to influence a former minister in the SNC-Lavalin affair.
The prime minister says he accepts the commissioner’s report but disagrees with some of its conclusions.
The findings could be an issue for Mr Trudeau in advance of October’s general election.
Earlier this year, former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Mr Trudeau and his staff of spending months trying to convince her that taking SNC-Lavalin to trial would cost Canadians jobs, and their party votes.
Her accusation proved to be politically costly for Mr Trudeau – leading to the resignation of two high-profile cabinet ministers, his top personal aide and the head of the federal bureaucracy – and cast a shadow over his leadership.
Ms Wilson-Raybould said the commissioner’s report was a “vindication” of her position that she was improperly pressured by Mr Trudeau and his staff.
What did the ethics commissioner report say?
Commissioner Mario Dion’s scathing report found that Mr Trudeau had violated section nine of conflict of interest act, which prohibits public office holders from using their position to improperly further another person’s private interests.
“The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms Wilson‑Raybould,” said Mr Dion in a statement released with his 63-page report on Wednesday.
He said the authority of the Mr Trudeau and his office “was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision” by Ms Wilson-Raybould and the federal prosecution service not to go ahead with a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin.
Read more at BBC
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