National Post March 6, 2019
In the last week, the Liberal government have been arguing strongly that their actions on SNC-Lavalin were motivated solely by a desire to protect jobs.
“We are always going to stand up for good jobs,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a Monday press conference in P.E.I. Five times before the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday, former prime minister adviser Gerald Butts said his actions were motivated by the threat of job losses.
“When 9,000 people’s jobs are at stake, it is a public policy problem of the highest order,” Butts said.
But this point, more than any other, may be bolstering the case that Trudeau and his staff strayed outside the law in pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to defer charges against SNC-Lavalin.
Under section 715.32(3) of the Criminal Code, prosecutors are forbidden to consider the “national economic interest” in deciding whether to grant certain deferred prosecution agreements, including the one that was being sought for SNC-Lavalin. According to Jody Wilson-Raybould’s sworn testimony last Wednesday, she was explicitly told to seek a DPA for SNC-Lavalin because of the potential “jobs lost.”