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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

DAN ALBAS: Many consider a DPA to be a ‘slap on the wrist’, only offered to well-connected insiders

If you have followed any Canadian media reports this week, you have likely heard the growing controversy occurring within the Trudeau Liberal government.  In particular, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the subsequent fallout over the resignation of former Justice and until earlier this week Veteran Affairs Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, from the Trudeau cabinet.

What started this controversy?

Last week, the Globe and Mail reported that the former Justice Minister was pressured, by Trudeau's senior officials working within the Prime Ministers Office (PMO), into offering a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in a criminal case to SNC Lavalin, in lieu of a criminal trial.

It has been suggested that when Ms. Wilson-Raybould did not end the criminal proceedings in favour of a DPA.  Instead she was shuffled, by the Prime Minister, from the Justice portfolio -- and a Montreal based Justice Minister was appointed.

The new Justice Minister has since indicated that he will not rule out entering into a DPA with SNC-Lavalin. A deferred prosecution agreement allows a major corporate entity, like SNC Lavalin, to plead guilty, and pay a fine, instead of facing criminal charges that may lead to jail or other severe consequences.

In this case, the consequence of a criminal conviction would be a ban from being able to bid on federal contracts for ten years.

Many consider a DPA to be a “slap on the wrist”, only offered to well-connected insiders.  It is also a controversial topic as it this was only recently created in Canada, buried deep within a Liberal omnibus budget implementation bill.

It has been implied that this option, of a DPA, was created specifically to benefit SNC Lavalin, which is currently facing criminal charges related to bribery and fraud.

Where this situation becomes murkier is that the lobbyist registry reveals that since 2016, SNC-Lavalin has lobbied the Trudeau Liberal government more than 80 times on the subject of “justice and law enforcement”.

In 2016 it was also revealed that SNC Lavalin had illegally donated close to $118,000 to various political parties. Of this $118,000, close to $110,000 was donated to the Liberal Party of Canada, or various Liberal riding associations or candidates.

The remainder went to the Conservative Party of Canada, or various Conservative candidates. None was reported donated to the NDP.

The Prime Minister has steadfastly refused that he directed the former Justice Minister in any way over the SNC-Lavalin prosecution, however he has refused to comment on the allegations that Wilson-Raybould may have been pressured.

A serious concern, that many suggest, amounts to potential judicial interference.

On Monday evening, Ms. Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet in a letter stating that she has hired legal counsel to determine what she can say in response to the allegations,  without interfering with solicitor client privilege that Mr. Trudeau has thus far refused to waive.

My question this week:

"Do you believe this situation is deserving of further investigation or should Mr. Trudeau be taken at his word that there was no potential judicial interference?"

I can be reached at or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas, Conservative Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola, is currently the Shadow Minister of Innovation, Science, Economic Development and Internal Trade and sits on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology.

MP Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern.


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