Dean of the Conservative Caucus Talks Of Nasty SNC-Lavalin Case now roiling Ottawa politics
By Bala Menon
MISSISSAUGA: “Why do Liberals think they can break our country’s laws?”, asks Deepak Obhrai, Conservative Member of Parliament from Calgary Forest Lawn and Dean of the Conservative Caucus.
“They have this culture of entitlement and I congratulate former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould for standing up for Canadians,” Obhrai told The Weekly Voice.
He also hit out at the Liberals on the Justice Committee who voted to end the probe into the SNC-Lavalin case and for releasing a later saying: “we have achieved our objectives with respect to these meetings…we believe that all rules and laws were followed. Canadians now have the necessary information to arrive at a conclusion.”
Obhrai said “This is the next calculated move by the Liberal brains to end the SNC Lavalin fiasco. The final nail, of course, is the appointment of Anne McLellan as special advisor to the prime minister. Now Canadians will never know the truth how deep the rot was. A full inqiury is needed.”
SNC-Lavalin is accused of bribing Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011 to win business in that country. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development is now monitoring allegations that Justin Trudeau’s government tried to influence the case and to determine if Canada is violating its commitment to an international anti-bribery convention. Ottawa has been on the boil for some weeks now after the Public Prosecutions Office decided not to use a new law to defer a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin in favour of a ‘remediation agreement’ which would mean that the firm would admit wrongdoing and only pay a fine.
Wilson-Raybould who was Attorney General did not proceed with the prosecution nor went in for the remediation agreement. She was then shunted out of office. Later, she said several officials connected to Trudeau’s office put improper and sustained pressure on her to change her mind.
“Never in my all my 21 years of political life as an MP, have I seen such a spectacle in Parliament when the government is being called out for its actions by its own cabinet members,” Obhrai said while visiting the Voice office this week.
When the pre-election budget was debated on Thursday in Parliament, the Conservatives orchestrated a 30-hour filibuster, Obhrai said. “It was hours and hours of non-stop voting, line by line on the spending plans of the government. There were over 200 amendments. If any of the spending measures had been defeated, the government would have fallen – so we had to punish the Liberals by keeping them there,” Obhrai explained.
“There is also nothing in the budget about jobs for Canadians or for encouraging or stimulating business.” The filibuster ended only in the early hours of Friday.
Wilson-Raybould resigned on February 12 and her close friend Treasury Board President Jane Philpott, followed suit on March 4, citing loss of confidence. Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigned on February 18. Whitby, Ont. MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes also quit the Liberal caucus saying she would sit as an independent.
Delighted to visit my MLA @voteleela with @kumarcalgary and Pritiam to show our full support in her re-election campaign. She has been an excellent Representative and look forward to her win. @jkenney @Alberta_UCP pic.twitter.com/Ywb8VabG4V
— Hon Deepak Obhrai PC (@deepakobhrai) March 24, 2019
On Alberta politics, Obhrai is confident that the United Conservative Party, headed by Jason Kenney, will throw out the NDP government, in the April 16 elections. “Our focus in the province is on the carbon tax, the pipeline and the deteriorating business environment.” He is helping several party members in their campaigns.
Canadian crude output has fallen to record lows and the crisis in the petroleum sector is linked to the lack of pipeline capacity. It is estimated that Canadian economy is losing about $80 million per day because of the absence of market access.