For those of you who don’t pay any attention to Canadian Politics (and I wouldn’t blame you a bit even if you were Canadian) there is much ado about something very serious going on right now. And it goes all the way to the top.
Today I would like to talk about someone I consider a true hero. Jody Wilson-Raybould was Justice Minister and Attorney General in Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet before she was unceremoniously shuffled out of that position some weeks ago, and promptly resigned from cabinet. In my opinion she deserves the Order of Canada for demonstrating honesty and integrity in the face of incredible political pressures from above to interfere in her duties upholding the due process of law.
Ms Wilson-Raybould testified to a parliamentary justice committee the other day, and these were her opening remarks:
“For a period of approximately four months, between September and December of 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the Attorney General of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a deferred prosecution agreement with SNC-LAVALIN. These events involved eleven people excluding myself and my political staff, from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, and the Office of the Minister of Finance. This included in-person conversations, telephone calls, emails and text messages. There were approximately ten phone calls and ten meetings specifically about SNC, and I and or my staff were part of these meetings. Within these conversations there were express statements regarding the necessity of interference in the SNC-LAVALIN matter, the potential of consequences and veiled threats if a DPA was not made available to SNC. A few weeks later on January 7th, I was informed by the Prime Minister that I was being shuffled out of the role as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.”
Every Canadian should listen to her testimony – it is linked here and runs about 37 minutes but is well worth the time spent.
To summarize what this is all about, back in 2015 the RCMP laid charges of bribery and corruption involving officials of the Libyan government against SNC-LAVALIN, a Montreal-based engineering firm with close ties to the Liberal government. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who works under the Justice Minister and Attorney General, but like him or her are supposed to be politically unbiased and work at arm’s length from the government of the day, made the decision to proceed to trial instead of negotiating a Deferred Prosecution Agreement or DPA (which essentially lets SNC pay a fine and continue to operate as though nothing has happened). Provision for DPA’s was snuck into the last federal budget omnibus bill by the Liberal government after heavy lobbying from – guess who – SNC. Going to trial for corruption and bribery is not something SNC would like to have happen; it would adversely affect their stock prices, and if they were found guilty, they would not be eligible to bid on lucrative Canadian government contracts.
In the weeks leading up to the cabinet shuffle that saw the end of Ms Wilson-Raybould’s tenure as Attorney General, she was warned what was coming if she did not cooperate.
Katie Telford, the Prime minister’s chief of staff, in one of the many efforts to persuade her to cave in, is alleged to have promised her secretary, “If Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write op-eds saying that what she is doing is proper.”
This comes as no surprise to me – I have long believed the ‘presstitutes’ of the mainstream media to be nothing more than propaganda tools of one political interest or another – the CBC and the Toronto Star are shining examples of this. Nor am I surprised that the Privy council, the office of the Finance Minister, or the office of the Prime Minister are, it is alleged, attempting to obstruct justice for political gain. It happens all the time. What I am surprised about, is that all of this even came out, and one brave soul dared to stand up for her principles and do the right thing. Close to the end, she claims she was warned one last time that ‘a collision with the Prime Minister on these matters should be avoided’.
For her efforts at upholding the public trust in her, she may have excluded herself from the gold-plated government pension-for-life that all of those devotees who toe the party line are rewarded with.
If the PM and his parliamentary disciples who Ms Wilson-Raybould mentions in her testimony are ever even investigated, let alone held to account for their role in this affair, I would be shocked. After all, for them, it’s business as usual. I have no doubt that her replacement will do Trudeau’s bidding and SNC-LAVALIN will live happily ever after. But this day belongs to Ms Wilson-Raybould, her courage to stand up, and suffer the consequences of doing what to most of us regular Canadians is ‘the right thing’.
She makes me proud to be Canadian.