Norman Trudeau

CBC March 30, 2019

They’re two sides of the same political and judicial coin: SNC-Lavalin and the Mark Norman trial.

The all-consuming, breathless political drama over the SNC Lavalin scandal has rocked the Liberal government to its foundations. The grinding courtroom fight in the breach-of-trust case case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, the military’s former second-in-command, is somewhat less flashy, but still high-profile.

What links them — and, to a lesser degree, the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou — is the fear that politics can trump prosecutorial independence.

Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould put a finger on the issue in her clandestine recording of a telephone conversation with the country’s top bureaucrat, Michael Wernick. The recording was released to the Commons justice committee and the media Friday.

The two were discussing the possibility of a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC Lavalin — which faces corruption charges, including fraud and bribery — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s insistence that such an option be considered.

Wilson-Raybould warned about the potential knock-on effect in cases like Norman’s, although she suggested the government’s conduct in Norman’s case has been above reproach.

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