Scheer ramps up pressure on Liberals to support SNC-Lavalin study
Published Friday, August 16, 2019 6:24PM EDT
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer launched what he called a "grassroots campaign" today to pressure Liberal MPs to vote in favour of continuing the House of Commons ethics committee study into the SNC-Lavalin affair.
The committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the findings of ethics commissioner Mario Dion's report, which found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau contravened the Conflict of Interest Act for trying to influence then-justice minister Jody-Wilson-Raybould in "many ways" during the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
Dion reached out to the committee chair today to say that he would "of course" be willing to testify if asked, even on "short notice," but the committee still needs to vote in favour of the study for that invite to have a chance to be issued.
Scheer plans to do what he can to make sure that happens.
"Starting today, I am launching a grassroots campaign to encourage Canadians to urge these six Liberal members of Parliament to put their country before their party and to vote to let the ethics committee do its work," Scheer told reporters in Moncton, N.B., on Friday.
The political firestorm first kicked off in February when the news broke that the Prime Minister's Office had pressed Wilson-Raybould to direct federal prosecutors to pursue a remediation agreement with Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin. The issue led to Wilson-Raybould and then-Treasure Board president Jane Philpott leaving cabinet and, ultimately, being booted from the Liberal caucus by the prime minister, who cited "broken trust" as the reason for pushing them from the party.
The House justice committee probed the SNC-Lavalin controversy shortly after the controversy kicked off, but Liberal MPs voted to end the study in March after 11 meetings. When opposition parties pushed for the ethics committee to pick up the study in late March, Liberal MPs voted against it.
This new effort to revive the study will be voted on next Wednesday.
In addition to his campaign in support of the ethics committee study, Scheer has also renewed his calls for a RCMP investigation into the affair. He told reporters that there is "enough evidence here to warrant an RCMP investigation."
Jody Wilson-Raybould has revealed that the RCMP contacted her in the spring.
"After clarifying with the RCMP, I can confirm that I was contacted by them this past spring regarding matters that first came to the public's attention on February 7, 2019 in a Globe and Mail article," Wilson-Raybould said in an email to CTV News, referring to when the newspaper broke the story of the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
Speaking to CTV News on Friday, the RCMP confirmed that they are looking into the issue.
"The RCMP is examining this matter carefully with all available information and will take appropriate actions as required. It would be inappropriate for us to provide anymore comments on this matter at this time," it said in a statement emailed to CTV News.
Wilson-Raybould said she has not been contacted by the RCMP in the time since the ethics commissioner's report came out.