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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

FELDSTED: The real issue, which the Prime Minster refuses to address, is whether or not we want to allow political interference in the administration of justice

Globe and Mail ~~ March 7th, 2019

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau says he didn’t realize there was an “erosion of trust” between his office and former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould over the fall of 2018 and acknowledged he should have realized this was taking place.

The Prime Minister used an early morning press conference to speak at length about the political crisis that has engulfed his government over the past month and triggered the resignation of one of his most senior aides and two cabinet ministers including Ms. Wilson-Raybould.

He offered no apologies for what has taken place, acknowledged no wrongdoing in what has unfolded since ...

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Mr. Trudeau is skating on the edges of the SNC-Lavalin affair, confining his comments to the internal chaos in the PMO while avoiding the real issues which are government efforts to mitigate the legal problems for a Quebec based construction firm accused of some and convicted of some criminal activities.

Claiming that saving jobs is the reason for supporting SNC Lavalin is not credible. This government sat on its hands while 12,000 Sears Canada employees were thrown out of work and over 50,000 oil and gas workers were thrown out of work.

Saving jobs is not a just cause for interfering in our criminal justice system. We have an independent Public Prosecution Service of Canada precisely to avoid political interference in criminal prosecutions.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) is a national, independent and accountable prosecuting authority whose main objective is to prosecute federal offences and provides legal advice and assistance to law enforcement.

The Director is Deputy Attorney General. The Attorney General has authority to review prosecutions and can override the PPSC, but if he or she does, must publish the decision for all to see.

That is precisely where the conflict lays.

The Prime Minister pointed out the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement allow it to be set up even in the last minutes of a trial.

The Attorney General has to decide whether or not allowing a deferred prosecution is in the public interest. It is not a political decision. Trudeau, through the PMO, was insisting the Attorney General should make a political decision, considering potential job losses and other political issues.

The real issue, which the Prime Minster refuses to address, is whether or not we want to allow political interference in the administration of justice.

My reaction is ‘no’ – a thousand times ‘no’! We do not want politicians deciding which criminal cases will be prosecuted in accordance with our laws and which cases will be given special treatment.

It is a very short step from granting special treatment for some corporations facing criminal charges to asking the PPSC to investigate corporations and individuals the government dislikes. Political interference in justice is a double-edged sword that can help or harm.

This government has failed to make a reasonable case for why we should accept a change to our criminal code that allows for deferred prosecution agreements. The change in the criminal code has not been properly scrutinized and all ramifications considered by the Commons and Senate.

The government made changes to the Criminal Code through an end run around the Commons Justice Committee and the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee by including the changes in a Finance Department Bill. That is unacceptable cloak and dagger behaviour the government must answer for.

John Feldsted
Political Consultant & Strategist
Winnipeg, Manitoba


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