Tell us: Do you trust Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the SNC-Lavalin scandal?

Just over two months before Canada’s federal election, the country’s ethics commissioner has determined that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to influence Jody Wilson-Raybould’s involvement in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, infringing on section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act.

"The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson‑Raybould,” conflict of interest and ethics commissioner Mario Dion said in a statement.

“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."

Trudeau responded to the findings in the report, maintaining that he does not support the commissioner’s analysis.

“The Commissioner took the strong view that all contact with the Attorney General on this issue was improper. I disagree with that conclusion, especially when so many people’s jobs were at stake,” the prime minister said in a statement.

“My objective was, and always will be, to stand up for people’s jobs and livelihoods across the country, while upholding the rule of law and respecting the role of the Attorney General...That said, the buck stops with me, and I take full responsibility for everything that happened, and accept the report.”

The SNC-Lavalin scandal

Back in February 2015, Montreal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin was charged with criminal offences related to business in Libya between 2001 and 2011. The company tried to strike a deferred prosecution agreement but on September 4, 2018, the director of public prosecutions told the attorney general’s office that SNC-Lavalin would not be able to negotiate a possible remediation agreement.

The attorney general’s office, led by Wilson-Raybould at the time, notified the Prime Minister’s Office and the ministry of finance. Trudeau then directed his staff to “find a solution that would safeguard SNC-Lavalin’s business interests in Canada,” according to the report.

Wilson-Raybould told the prime minister that she would not intervene in the director of public prosecutions’ decision but senior staff members continued to engage with SNC-Lavalin’s legal council, the attorney general’s office and Wilson-Raybould herself, under Trudeau’s guidance, in an attempt to influence her decision.

“The evidence showed that SNC-Lavalin had significant financial interests in deferring prosecution,” the report states. “The actions that sought to further these interests were improper since they were contrary to Shawcross doctrine and the principles of prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.”

Canadians quickly took to social media to share their opinions of Trudeau and their personal comments on the report:

What do you think of Justin Trudeau after the release of the ethics commissioner’s report? Vote in the poll above and leave your thoughts in the comments below.