The seeds for the SNC-Lavalin affair were sown more than three years ago. In early 2016 − long before the resignations and caucus ejections of this year − Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a senior adviser met with the Quebec engineering giant’s then-CEO. They discussed the company’s legal woes and the potential fallout should it be convicted of fraud and bribery.

The meeting, which has not been publicly disclosed until now, is among a series of startling revelations contained in the report released Wednesday by federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion. Many of the actors in the SNC-Lavalin controversy have given a public account of events as they saw them, whether through press conferences, written statements or testimony before the House of Commons justice committee that probed the matter earlier this year. And yet, much is revelatory in the report, based on the testimony of 14 witnesses − including, for the first time, Mr. Trudeau − and the examination of hundreds of pages of evidence.

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