Canadian political history was made as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was found guilty for the second time in contravening the Conflict of Interest Act.
In the ruling released this week by Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, the guilty verdict related to the actions of Trudeau in seeking to influence a decision of then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould regarding the prosecution of SNC Lavalin.
This situation led to Wilson-Raybould's resignation from cabinet, before Mr. Trudeau removed her and Jane Philpott (whom likewise resigned from cabinet due to concerns on the subject) from the Liberal caucus.
The report released this week, known as “Trudeau II” raises some troubling findings.
The commissioner found "The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson‑Raybould. The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson‑Raybould as the Crown's chief law officer,"
The Commissioner noted that he was denied some of the required information to view “the entire body of evidence” and that some witnesses were also unable to share certain information because of these same restrictions.
Ultimately his conclusion was "The evidence showed there were many ways in which Mr. Trudeau, either directly or through the actions of those under his direction, sought to influence the Attorney General."
Since the report was publicly released, Trudeau stated that he “takes responsibility for the mistakes that I made” yet at the same time he has also stated that he disagrees with some of the commissioner's findings.
Having now read the commissioner's report in full, I also have a few thoughts.
When this SNC Lavalin situation was first reported in the Globe and Mail, Trudeau told reporters “The allegations in the Globe story this morning are false,”
Later at a March 7 news conference, Trudeau stated “In Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s case, she did not come to me and I wish she had,”
The challenge with this statement is that the Trudeau II report clearly reveals that on Sept. 17, 2018, Wilson-Raybould did meet with Mr. Trudeau and relayed her concerns directly to him.
In other words, the comments made by Trudeau in March, 2019, do not reconcile with the facts of Sept. 17, 2018, as outlined in the report.
My question this week: What do you think the prime minister should do in light of this serious report?