Justin Trudeau

Legal and political experts are rejecting Justin Trudeau’s statement that it is up to Canada’s top bureaucrat to decide whether to lift the veil of cabinet secrecy over the SNC-Lavalin affair, saying that waiving confidentiality is a political decision in the hands of the prime minister.

Retired judge John Gomery, who led a public inquiry into the federal sponsorship program in 2004 and 2005, said he was initially rebuffed by senior bureaucrats when he asked for access to cabinet minutes related to the national-unity initiative, which was marred by fraud and corruption. The Liberal prime minister of the day, Paul Martin, eventually over rode the senior bureaucrats and agreed to provide access to all available information.

“It is a political decision,” Mr. Gomery said in an interview. “Their usual rules are there is no disclosure of what goes on in cabinet. Like every rule, there are exceptions. I had one of them, and we’ll find out if there will be another one in the SNC-Lavalin case.”

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