The ethics commissioner for Canada has issued a report that concludes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke Canada’s ethics laws (and is that not an interesting thing that there are laws on ethics in Canada?). The conclusion comes on the basis of Mr. Trudeau’s intervention in a criminal case against the Canadian firm, SNC-Lavalin, for allegedly bribing Libyan officials in order to obtain contracts with the Libyan government. The report concludes that Mr. Trudeau had used his office “to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the now-former justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to seek only a civil penalty, not a criminal conviction, for SNC-Lavalin. Ms. Wilson-Raybould said that she was “bullied” by Mr. Trudeau, and was eventually demoted. She later resigned from the cabinet, and another member resigned in solidarity. Both were removed from the Liberal caucus by Mr. Trudeau. They are running in the October elections as independents.
Interestingly, Mr. Trudeau does not deny that he tried to influence Ms. Wilson-Raybould. Rather, he was simply trying to save jobs. If SNC-Lavalin had been convicted, thousands of employees would have been laid off because a criminal conviction would bar the company from all government contracts. Nice try, but the old ends-and-means strategy does not justify interference with the criminal and/or civil justice system. Mr. Trudeau said that he disagrees with the ethics report because he is not prohibited from having contact with the justice minister. Nice try again, but unless Canadian ethics are now haywire, executive selective influence exerted over prosecutorial decisions on behalf of well heeled constituents is generally thought to be corrupt.
How the enlightened are fallen!