IssuesJustice & Ethics

Justice & Ethics

First Published: Jul 31, 2019
Last Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Monitored by: Hugues Théorêt

Background

The justice department has been at the center of the biggest political storm the Trudeau government has faced since it was elected in 2015.

The controversy began with a Globe and Mail story, published on Feb. 7, that alleged Trudeau's office had "attempted to press" former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the corruption and fraud prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The company faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with nearly $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.

The story said Wilson-Raybould "came under heavy pressure" to persuade the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to change its mind. But she was unwilling to instruct the director of the public prosecution service to negotiate the agreement, the Globe reported.

On Feb. 27, Wilson-Raybould backed up the allegations in the Globe story. Speaking in front of the justice committee, Wilson-Raybould said that for four months from September to December 2018, she "experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with SNC-Lavalin." She said this included in-person conversations, telephone calls, emails and text messages, and those in-person conversations included one with the prime minister.

Jody Wilson-Raybould was kicked out of the Liberal caucus in the fallout of the SNC-Lavalin affair, which saw top government officials accused by Wilson-Raybould of pressuring her to interfere in legal proceedings against the Quebec construction company.

Current Status

In January 2019, David Lametti was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to replace Jody Wilson-Raybould who moved to Veterans Affairs. An internationally recognized expert in property and intellectual property, Lametti’s first appointment once in government saw him named parliamentary secretary, International Trade, a post he held from December 2015 to January 2017.

Minister Lametti is publicly musing about whether Canada should consider separating the offices of its attorney general and its minister of justice in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

Liberal

No specific proposals yet.

Conservatives

No specific proposals yet.

NDP

New Democrats believe government must work to end systemic discrimination against Indigenous peoples in the justice system.

Green Party

No specific proposals yet.

People's Party

Replace the Firearms Act and supporting legislation with new legislation that will prioritize effective measures to improve public safety and fight crime in Canada.

Replace the costly and burdensome licensing system with an efficient lifetime certification system for firearms owners following mandatory vetting, safety training and testing. To avoid criminalizing legal gun owners and guarantee their property rights, this system will legalize simple possession of firearms for certified Canadians as long as they use their firearms lawfully and don't commit some other crime which would disqualify them from firearms ownership.

Require that all firearms categories be based on function, not on looks or arbitrary political whims, and remove ineffective restrictions which unfairly target sport shooters, but have no deterrent effect on criminals.

Mandate that all future changes to firearms regulation be completed through Parliament only. This means that neither the RCMP nor cabinet will be able to move the legal goalposts for legal firearms owners without the approval of Parliament.

Bloc Quebecois

No specific proposals yet.

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