Every day, Didier François deals with an international topic.
A report released Thursday by the Ethics Commissioner of Canada is seriously questioning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He is accused of pressuring justice to quell a corruption scandal. A political bomb that seriously weakens the head of government two months of parliamentary elections.
The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is a very independent and respected institution in Canada. However, the conclusions of his investigation are overwhelming for the Prime Minister. They give the former Minister of Justice (Jody Wilson-Raybould), who resigned last February to denounce significant impediments and pressure from Justin Trudeau to stop a large Canadian company in court. BTP (SNC-Lavalin), found guilty of active bribery in Libya. The facts are old, they go back to a period that runs from August 2001 to September 2011. A period during which the company had paid large bribes to the regime of Colonel Gaddafi (nearly 32 million) in exchange for lucrative markets. The SNC-Lavalin ended up recognizing its malpractices after they were revealed by the press. By this plea guilty, she hoped to benefit from a negotiated solution because a conviction in a trial would have closed the access to the public markets for ten years. An economic disaster for this Canadian engineering giant who still employs 50,000 employees worldwide.
An agreement denied by the Minister of Justice?
The minister who is also the attorney general decided to continue anyway. And this is where the Prime Minister decided to intervene to bring it back to a more conciliatory position, in the name of preserving jobs.
Which is not illegal?
No and besides, Justin Trudeau does not risk anything on the judicial level. The problem is purely political. It is a problem of credibility and coherence to the extent that the Canadian Prime Minister has built a image of a young democrat very much on ethical issues and a great defender of absolute transparency. While in this case, everything was particularly opaque. Starting with the interference of his cabinet on the decisions of justices that he had begun to deny. This ultimately led to the resignation of three members of his government, the Justice and Budget Ministers, as well as the Senior Advisor (his right hand man and a key man in the Canadian executive). And this is the second time that the Prime Minister has been accused by the Office of the Ethics Commissioner of having bitten the conflict of interest feature. In this case, the incriminated company still has its headquarters in Montreal in its Quebec constituency. While he had already been called to order in 2017 for spending holidays with his family and friends at the invitation of the Aga Khan on a private island in the Bahamas. It's starting to do a lot and the very worked and very smooth image of Justin Trudeau has been severely tarnished in public opinion. As a result, his Liberal party is in free fall in the polls.