PM won’t release McLellan report on SNC-Lavalin until ethics report released

Report expected to be released just as the campaign for the Oct. 21 election moves into high gear

Justin Trudeau says he’s received what he calls a “great” report from former Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan on the SNC-Lavalin affair.

But the prime minister won’t make it public until federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion releases his own report into the explosive affair that rocked the government last winter and sent Liberal popularity on a downward slide from which the party has not yet fully recovered.

Dion’s office won’t comment on the status of his investigation but Liberal insiders privately expect the report will be released in early September — just as the campaign for the Oct. 21 election moves into high gear.

Trudeau is likely hoping to blunt the impact of a potentially damaging report from the ethics commissioner by releasing McLellan’s report at the same time.

ALSO READ: SNC-Lavalin cloud lifting for Liberals as they face close fight with Tories

He appointed her as a independent adviser to analyze and make recommendations on questions that arose out of the SNC-Lavalin affair, including whether the roles of minister of justice and attorney general should be separated.

The affair revolved around an allegation by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould that she was improperly pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office to halt a criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant, as allowed by law.

Trudeau has maintained that no one did anything wrong and has attributed the controversy to a breakdown in trust between his staff and Wilson-Raybould, who quit cabinet in February, followed by her friend and ally, Jane Philpott. Both former ministers are running for re-election as independent candidates.

McLellan was to have reported back to Trudeau by June 30. In a statement Tuesday, deputy Conservative leader Lisa Raitt questioned why Trudeau has not yet released McLellan’s recommendations and put it down to another example of “just how far (Liberals) will go to cover up the truth.”

Asked about the report later Tuesday at an event with Toronto Mayor John Tory, Trudeau acknowledged he’s received it and said he’s given it to Dion.

Liberals, he said, recognize the importance of looking at the possibly incompatible roles played by someone who is both justice minister, involved in political and policy decisions of government, and the attorney general, who is supposed to exercise independent, non-partisan judgment about prosecutions.

“That’s why we were very pleased to have a great report written by Anne McLellan. We have provided that report to the ethics commissioner to allow the ethics commissioner to finish his own investigation and we will be releasing the report at the same time as the ethics commissioner makes his report public,” Trudeau said.

Raitt scoffed at the notion that McLellan was ”independent,” noting that she was scheduled to be a headliner at a Liberal party fundraiser at the time she was appointed to look into the SNC-Lavalin fiasco. Raitt accused Trudeau of trying to distract Canadians from his government’s political interference in the justice system by launching McLellan’s study of the dual justice minister/attorney general role.

Trudeau also tasked McLellan with analyzing the ”operating policies and practices across the cabinet, and the role of public servants and political staff in their interactions with the minister of justice and attorney general of Canada.”

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thornhill’s future takes centre stage at June 2 public hearing

The current community plan was adopted in 1981

Class will look different at Coast Mountain College this September

The college is embracing a distributed learning model

City council considers easing food truck restriction

Food trucks limited to four hours public parking, may increase to six hours

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Most Read