Answer, yes or no? Opposition grills Liberals in House of Commons over SNC allegations

The SNC Lavalin affair dominated the House of Commons question period on Thursday. With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau away from Ottawa, the job of taking the fire belonged to current Attorney General David Lametti. Here were a few of the exchanges.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer: Mr. Speaker…We have heard the Prime Minister’s very carefully scripted legalistic answer. However, the question is: Did anyone in the Prime Minister’s Office, at any time, communicate with anyone in the former Attorney General’s office on the matter of the criminal prosecution of SNC Lavalin, yes or no?

Lametti: Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said earlier today, these allegations are false.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, Canadians were confused and shocked when the first Indigenous justice minister was summarily fired without explanation. In her letter to Canadians she warned that an attorney general must speak truth to power and that “It is a pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political interference.” In the bombshell report from The Globe and Mail we now understand truly what she meant, because when the now former justice minister refused to drop the fraud and corruption trial against SNC Lavalin, she was fired. Again, did anyone in the Prime Minister’s Office communicate with the former justice minister about this case, yes or no?

Lametti: Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister said earlier today, neither the Prime Minister nor his office put my predecessor or myself under pressure nor gave any directives. These allegations contained in The Globe and Mail are false.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre: Mr. Speaker, he said “no” earlier today, so we know he is able to answer at least one yes or no question. I want him to answer this one. According to the lobbyist registry, SNC Lavalin met with the Prime Minister’s Office on 14 different occasions to discuss justice and law enforcement. This is a construction company, by the way. In any of those meetings was the subject of the criminal prosecution of that company ever discussed, yes or no?

Lametti: Mr. Speaker, as I think it is clear, I was not privy to those discussions. As the Prime Minister has said earlier today, directions were not given either to my predecessor or myself with regard to any decision in this matter.

Justice Minister David Lametti speaks during question period in the House of Commons on Feb. 7, 2019. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press




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