09.10.2019 09:54 PM

#LavScam shocker: Trudeau PMO blocking Mounties’ obstruction of justice investigation

I’d say the election just found its defining moment, wouldn’t you?

These guys make Donald Trump look like a rank amateur.

The RCMP has been looking into potential obstruction of justice in the handling of the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., but its examination has been stymied by the federal government’s refusal to lift cabinet confidentiality for all witnesses, The Globe and Mail has learned.

This means individuals involved in the matter cannot discuss events or share documents with police that have not been exempted from the rule of cabinet confidentiality, according to sources, who The Globe agreed not to identify so they could discuss the RCMP inquiries.

In Canada, the principle of cabinet confidentiality is intended to allow ministers to debate decisions freely in private. As a result, discussions involving cabinet matters must be kept secret unless a waiver is granted. In the SNC matter, the Liberals say that the Clerk of the Privy Council, who heads the bureaucratic agency that serves the Prime Minister’s Office, made the decision not to offer a broad waiver to either the RCMP or to the Ethics Commissioner, and that the PMO played no role.

A source who was recently interviewed by the RCMP told The Globe that investigators indicated they are looking into possible obstruction of justice. The Criminal Code says obstruction of justice occurs when an effort is made to “obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding.”

The national police force will pause the operation because of the coming election campaign. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to go to Rideau Hall Wednesday to ask the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament and call the vote for Oct. 21, and the RCMP has a policy to suspend politically sensitive operations during campaigns.

Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said the decision not to offer a broader waiver for the RCMP “was made solely by the Clerk of the Privy Council as guardian of cabinet confidences.” Mr. Trudeau’s director of communications, Cameron Ahmad, said the PMO was not involved in the decision.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion faced the same obstacle as the RCMP in his investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair earlier this year, stating in his final reportthat nine witnesses were unable to provide full testimony because government allowed only a limited waiver on cabinet secrecy.

Mr. Dion found that Mr. Trudeau breached the Conflict of Interest Act. His report said the Prime Minister and senior federal officials improperly pressed Jody Wilson-Raybould when she was justice minister and attorney-general to order the director of public prosecutions to settle bribery and fraud charges against SNC-Lavalin without a trial.

The Department of Justice confirmed Tuesday that the RCMP received “the same access to cabinet confidences and privileged information” as the Ethics Commissioner and the justice committee of the House.

59 Comments

  1. hugh says:

    Unfortunately, I’m not surprised.
    What is also unfortunate is that the weak followers of the cult that the party has become will either deny this has occurred, or that it’s just “no big deal”.

    • The Doctor says:

      Just like Trump supporters don’t see obstruction of justice as a bid deal. Funny, huh?

      • CHRISTINE MCCANN says:

        What’s the difference between Trudeau being accused of obstruction of justice and the accusation of obstruction of justice made against Trump?
        Let’s see… The Mueller investigation went on for more than 2 years and Mueller issued more than 2,800 subpoenas. Mueller also issued about 500 search warrants. Millions of documents were handed over to Mueller and Mueller admitted under oath that Trump didn’t interfere with his investigation. Despite unfettered access to witnesses and documents, Mueller found he couldn’t charge Trump with anything.
        Meanwhile, the Ethics Commissioner of Canada said outright that the PMO interfered with his investigation, that information was kept confidential which preventing witnesses from speaking freely. The RCMP also said that the PMO interfered with its investigation. The RCMP told the Globe and Mail it would have to drop the investigation into the Trudeau obstruction of justice case after the election was called.
        Trudeau interfered with the #LavScam investigation at every level. Jody Wilson Raybould said when she addressed Parliament that she was unable to speak freely. Unlike Trump, Trudeau totally interfered with witness testimony.
        Hate Trump all you like, but he cooperated fully with Mueller’s investigation. Trudeau can’t say that he cooperated with Parliament, the Ethics Commissioner, and the RCMP at all.

        • The Doctor says:

          If you read the Mueller report, it is stated that Trump did not cooperate fully with Mueller’s investigation. Note that he refused to sit down for an interview. I don’t call that full cooperation, at least on the planet that I come from.

        • doconnor says:

          It was clear that Mueller couldn’t charge Trump with anything because of the Justice Department policy not to charge a sitting president.

          Trump didn’t fully cooperate. He didn’t do the requested face-to-face interview. Mueller listed several cases where Trump attempted to interfere with the investigation.

          • Bingo!

            As for the RCMP investigation, it’s not dropped, only suspended while the election campaign is on.

          • Fred from BC says:

            Damn…you just can’t stop yourself, can you Darwin? Trump Derangement Syndrome has an unbreakable grip on you, and you don’t even know it.

            “It was clear that Mueller couldn’t charge Trump with anything because of the Justice Department policy not to charge a sitting president.”

            Oh, please. Mueller couldn’t charge Trump with anything because he found NOTHING to charge him with. He did his very best to charge everyone remotely connected to Trump’s campaign with minor process crimes in a futile attempt to justify his ‘investigation’, but failed utterly in connecting Donald Trump to any “Russian collusion”.

            (although, strangely, he somehow failed to pursue any of the *real* Russian collusion he found involving the Clinton campaign….along with the illegal campaign finance misdirection that paid for the fake “dossier”. Hmmm…)

            “Trump didn’t fully cooperate. ”

            And WHY SHOULD HE?? With Meuller stacking his investigative staff with as many partisan Democrats as he could find, veering off on every possible tangent that steered well clear of any Democratic wrongdoing but managed to dredge up petty bullshit like Stormy Daniels and her sleazebag lawyer, why in the hell would he grant Robert Mueller ANYTHING?

            “He didn’t do the requested face-to-face interview. ”

            GOOD. I wouldn’t have either. He knew Mueller was so desperate to save face that he would have dredged up any potentially embarrassing incidents he could find, no matter how *completely unrelated* to the original ‘investigation’ they were. Good move by Trump to leave that smarmy prick twiting in the wind.

            “Mueller listed several cases where Trump attempted to interfere with the investigation.”

            More misdirection. Donald Trump could actually have *shut down* the so-called ‘investigation’ any time he wanted, but didn’t.

            Like I’ve said a number of times before, you and your kind appear to have learned *nothing* from your repeated failures to smear Trump; the more you try, the more people you drive into his camp. Now you’re just embarrassing yourself…and of course HELPING HIM GET RE-ELECTED in the process.

            As much as I don’t care for the man and would love to see him defeated, the American public now finds the Democrats and their useful idiots to be even more abhorrent than Trump (check his numbers: they are going *up* for a reason, despite the fact that you people are so utterly unable to understand why). I can’t wait to laugh at you all when he gets a second term THANKS TO YOU. It will almost be worth it.

          • Fred,

            I don’t know about you but I’m squarely in the Scaramucci camp. Trump is clearly already incapacitated and he’s doesn’t have the luxury of having been re-elected like Reagan was when he became dysfunctional. IMHO, there’s no way in hell that he’s up to the rigours of the 2020 campaign, so I expect he’ll eventually give way to Pence, who supposedly is now more popular than Trump.

          • doconnor says:

            If the Department of Justice policy on charging the president had nothing to do with not charging him, why does Mueller have a large section of his report going over the policy?

            You are aware that the dossier originated with Republican opponents of Trump? While the dossier contains information from Russian intelligence, there is no reason to believe they cooperated with it or offered it up willing.

            Fully cooperating would have made him seem less guilty in the eyes of the public and Congress.

          • Fred from BC says:

            ” IMHO, there’s no way in hell that he’s up to the rigours of the 2020 campaign, so I expect he’ll eventually give way to Pence, who supposedly is now more popular than Trump.”

            I wouldn’t bet against you on that, Ronald. As much as I despise a guy like Micheal Moore, I have to admit that was right about Trump’s election being “the biggest political FUCK YOU! in American history”, and that he *may* have been right about Trump never expecting to win the election in the first place . Being US President is a tough and thankless job; why would a 70-year-old billionaire need that when he could be out screwing porn stars (not to mention whatever the hell else one can do with that kind of money and unlimited free time)?

            I hope he allows Pence to take over. The man is a bit too religious for my tastes, but at least he’s soft-spoken, polite and doesn’t live for Twitter ‘likes’…

  2. Johnny Librano says:

    “Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said the decision not to offer a broader waiver for the RCMP “was made solely by the Clerk of the Privy Council as guardian of cabinet confidences.” Mr. Trudeau’s director of communications, Cameron Ahmad, said the PMO was not involved in the decision.”

    Is this how lamely a criminal investigation into the highest office in Canada ends, with a civil servant blowing off the RCMP?

    Can’t they get a court order?

    • Jeanbatte says:

      Trudeau is obviously hiding behind the clerk. He could wave cabinet confidentiality and allow the RCMP complete the investigation. Who’s the greater authority here? The Prime Minister or the clerk?

  3. BC Guy says:

    Just gross. This is easily the most corrupt government since I voted first in 1979, whether municipal, provincial or federal. They should be 20 points less in the polls…

    • BC Guy says:

      Promised to balance budget….2 ethics violations…shutting down 2 House of Common committee s..would lower debt to GDP but hasn’t…Khader…India…kicked out 2 women who opposed him…peoplekind…they are asking more than what we can give…poor relations with worlds bigger countries…dumping waste in waterways…

  4. Gyor says:

    I don’t know if this bombshell will matter if people are afraid Andrew is another Doug Ford, they will just make excuses so that they can vote to block the CPC from winning, which was the whole point of breaking his promise on electoral reform.

  5. Jeff R. Wilson. says:

    I for one, cannot and will not believe that the PMO was not involved in the decision made by the clerk of the Privy Council to not waive cabinet confidentiality. No way. Justin Trudeau has his fingers in this mess, of that there is no doubt. He is publicly smiling all the way through this debacle because he feels he is accountable to no one. I cannot believe any liberal supporter with a grain of integrity could vote for the Trudeau Liberals in the upcoming election.
    Mr Trudeau; “have you no shame?”

  6. Pedant says:

    Joe and Jane Frontporch read a legalistic term like “obstruction of justice” and their eyes glaze over. Electorally this is a nothing-burger in my opinion.

  7. Bill Malcolm says:

    And what exactly would the Cons do differently if caught in the same circumstances? Eh? They stopped regular scientists, quite a few of whom I know personally, from expressing their true results under harper’s paranoia land of dystopia, even sending along “minders” to accompany them to conferences to make sure they toed the predetermined line. The public paid the scientists’ salaries, but the Cons stifled their output to suit their agenda. Wholesale demagoguery.

    Then harper put the screws to Duffy by getting the RCMP to lay 31 charges against the man, a disreputable person to be sure to my mind – but EVERY ONE of those charges was dismissed by the judge, who said that the guilty ones didn’t appear before him, and issued a tongue-lashing. Water off a duck’s back.

    My, how the memory becomes selective when you’re on a roll! Both the Libs and Cons are in it for themselves and their sponsors. Avoid both and don’t touch them with a ten-foot pole is my advice. Gerrymandering opportunists sums both of them up – organizations of little or no honour.

    • Bill,

      That’s good advice so long as your intent is not to get Justin out. The only practical alternative is CPC but I agree entirely with your points. No angels running either the CPC or LPC.

    • Kris says:

      So riddle me this: the so called muzzled scientist friends of yours have had nearly four years to tell their story but all we have is silence??

      PS: your use of “Gerrymandering” is not in proper context. Look up definition.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “And what exactly would the Cons do differently if caught in the same circumstances? Eh? They stopped regular scientists, quite a few of whom I know personally, from expressing their true results under harper’s paranoia land of dystopia, even sending along “minders” to accompany them to conferences to make sure they toed the predetermined line”

      And then when Trudeau got in they were shocked to find themselves subject to *exactly the same* restrictions. Funny how that works, huh?

      “Then Harper put the screws to Duffy by getting the RCMP to lay 31 charges against the man”

      Really? Stephen Harper did that? How, exactly?

      “, a disreputable person to be sure to my mind – but EVERY ONE of those charges was dismissed by the judge, who said that the guilty ones didn’t appear before him, and issued a tongue-lashing.

      Guilty of what? Trying to do the right thing?

      “Water off a duck’s back.”

      It was. The public was bored.

  8. Nick M. says:

    Legally obstructing the investigation into illegal obstruction of justice.

    Is that what I am understanding?

    And why does cabinet confidentiality have a veto over a criminal investigation? I thought no one is suppose to be above the law?

    If Scheer was smart, an election promise to outlaw the ability to legally obstruct an investigation by the RCMP should be apart of a Sunny Ways commitment to the electorate.

  9. Max says:

    Purely coincidental, Raybold’s expense account depicting her husband along for the ride makes major headlines on the eve of the writ being dropped. “Doing politics differently” Justin-style. And Canadians look down upon Trump and Fox & Friends.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “Purely coincidental, Raybold’s expense account depicting her husband along for the ride makes major headlines on the eve of the writ being dropped.”

      I noticed that. Most MPs do the same, but the rest somehow didn’t rate a personal mention.

  10. Luke says:

    I doubt this is a defining moment. SNC Lavelin affair? Everyone made up their mind already. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was no defining moment this campaign. Although campaign surprises are fun and surely some party or another hopes to dredge up something exciting.

    Lib minority with NDP and/or Green support, another election in two years. Cons and Greens will gain seats, Libs and NDP lose some. Quebec is unpredictable, and might do a classic decisive shift (Green? Bloc?). I think Greens will find a seat or two in the Maritimes somewhere. My prediction.

    • Vancouverois says:

      When you say that everyone made up their minds about SNC-Lavalin already, you’re assuming that everyone was paying attention at the time. I don’t think that’s a valid assumption. Many of us here may keep track of what’s going on, but there seems to be a very significant number of voters who completely ignore just about everything that happens between elections, and only start paying attention a few weeks after the writ has dropped. If then.

      So I wouldn’t be too sure that SNC-Lavalin is over – especially not with recent headlines, and Trudeau’s refusal to answer direct questions at the election launch.

      • Vancouverois,

        Trudeau is doing what he does best: cutting HIS OWN throat.

      • Luke says:

        Could be, could be! Definitely true about most people not paying much attention. Just for me personally, it’s a dead issue as I’ve already decided I don’t like what happened, and any further news is just noise. I was supposing, from the polls (ack, foolishness of course), that the damage had already sunk in and enough people grew to tolerate the whole affair to make the Liberals competitive again.

        • Fred from BC says:

          “I was supposing, from the polls (ack, foolishness of course), that the damage had already sunk in and enough people grew to tolerate the whole affair to make the Liberals competitive again.”

          I really hope that the kind of corruption and obstruction we’ve seen so far don’t become as ‘tolerable’ to Canadians as they seem to be down south.

  11. RKJ says:

    Sadly, I don’t think most voters will consider this important. The CBC will focus, not on the issue of obstruction of justice, but on whether or not this issue will affect liberal chances of being elected. However, if the election race remains close, this issue may result in 3 to 5 percent of Ontario liberal voters switching or staying home, provided the opposition parties can provide a credible case for supporting them. My observations of personal liberal voting friends would indeed suggest they hold an unquestioning belief in the integrity of the party and will rationalize away with great skill any issue such as this. However, I also frankly surprised to hear these friends note, at a recent meal, they don’t find Andrew Scheer “scary”.

    So, in conclusion, “who knows”. However, with the CBC seeming to be the “house media outlet” for the liberal party the edge still has to remain there – a “third world situation” for sure.

  12. Nicole T. Laroche says:

    This is not what Canadians want! Dictatorship??!!

  13. Peter says:

    As a lawyer who is no fan of JT, I’m hoping this does not result in charges, mainly because I’m very dubious they would succeed. Unless there is a clear, unambiguous smoking gun of the “Back off SNC-Lavalin or lose your job” variety, this is probably too politically nebulous to ground a criminal conviction. No criminal court would find obstruction of justice on complicated circumstantial evidence, but it’s already enough for a lot of voters.

  14. David Murrell says:

    Warren, I agree with you, and the others on this thread.

    The problem is whether or not the other media giants, other than the G&M, report on this outrage and carry the story further. The G&M story mentions that the RCMP investigation is currently on hold until after the election.

    Since this is the case, I hope the opposition leaders and the media delve into the G&M article. Otherwise, the article is not the “defining moment”.

  15. Like I said above, they were smart to cloak this using PCO. But where they were incredibly stupid was in not making 100% sure that no one could possibly PROVE that they instructed PCO to proceed as they did. They aren’t politically sophisticated enough to have done that, so expect a bombshell in the campaign when proof ultimately leaks 0ut that they put PCO up to it. And then they’ll be finished politically.

  16. WestGuy says:

    What I’m a bit surprised at is how Sheer hasn’t really capitalized on this. Why has he not come out and said that if the Conservatives form government he will waive privilege and cabinet confidentiality, allowing the RCMP to investigate and JWR to fully, and restart the committee investigation?
    But it is still early so maybe he’s holding that particular card until the time is right.

    • WestGuy,

      Or it could be that a previous track record exists of CPC MPs eagerly doing the bidding of corps while in government. Doesn’t mean that was done by the Conservatives for the Irvings, SNC, Davie, etc. But we all know what bad political ops can do.

      • Vancouverois says:

        It was the Conservatives who created the independent Director of Public Prosecutions position, no?

        They’re certainly no angels, but in comparison to the Trudeau Liberals, they’re looking better and better in retrospect…

    • whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

      A future government cannot waive the cabinet confidence of a previous government.

      Harper totally and ocmpletey waived any cabinet confidences of his government relatin to the Norman affair in writing, and the Trudeau government still tried to prevent the release of documents, even falsely claiming at one point that Harper had not waived privilege completely.

      Trudeau can waive cabinet confidentiality relating to SNC. It is totally his choice. He is lying when he says that it is NOT. He is obstructing justice.

      The RCMP should go to court. It would be an interesting (unwritten) constitutional case.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “Trudeau can waive cabinet confidentiality relating to SNC. It is totally his choice. He is lying when he says that it is NOT. He is obstructing justice.”

        That’s the bottom line, isn’t it?

        Hopefully some enterprising reporter will press him on this.

        • Fred,

          Trudeau doesn’t give a fucking shit what reporters, much less Canadians think…that’s the bottom line.

          • The Doctor says:

            Meanwhile, Liberal bots on facebook (including many obvious fake accounts) tell us all it’s a big nothingburger that nobody cares about.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Steve,

            Tell Trudeau the feeling’s definitely mutual.

            And IF he gets in — and that’s one hell of a big if, I’ll say Canadian voters have spoken. How’s that?

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Doc,

            Playing Canadians for fools is not generally winning political strategy. Basic Politics 101.

      • WSISYW,

        They’ve made their political bed and are going with it in this campaign. Let ’em lie in it right until they finally get tossed out by voters.

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