Time for Trudeau to step asideRe: ‘I’m a truth teller,’ Feb. 28.The headline reads “Wilson-Raybould’s testimony may cost Trudeau his job.” I would change one word: “may” to “should.”Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony before the Justice Committee was straightforward and honest and I, like many Canadians, believe every word of it.The cover-up is blown and it all started at the top with the prime minister. He wanted a different outcome for the SNC-Lavalin debacle. He went to extraordinary lengths to achieve his goal. Liberal backbenchers should revolt. It’s time for sunny ways to step aside to preserve the party.Joe Spence, NepeanNothing illegal, no ‘veiled threat’I believe every word of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony but there is something important that she did not say. She did not say that she was asked to furtively break or override the law or that she was asked to violate the Constitution.She was asked to exercise an option provided for in Canadian law and to do so openly. She was not asked to buy votes; she was asked to save Canadian jobs. Attracting and keeping jobs in Canada is legitimate public policy.Criminal prosecution of corporations is a deeply flawed practice. When a company violates a law, the actual criminals are the individual employees who perform the illegal act, those who encourage them, and those who know about the violation but do not report it. They should be punished severely.Collective punishment hurts relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues of the perpetrator and is broadly condemned. Criminal prosecution of corporations should be discontinued because collective punishment is immoral and counterproductive. We should be far more disturbed by the fact that the case against an SNC-Lavalin vice-president charged with fraud and bribery was just thrown out, than by the possibility that SNC-Lavalin might negotiate a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA).DPAs are a step towards eliminating collective punishment. Eventually, corporations should be exempted from criminal prosecution completely but criminal employees should be subjected to much harsher punishments.DPAs are a legal way to save jobs and make Canada more attractive to new investors. They should now be supplemented by legal measures designed to make sure that employees who commit corporate crimes receive swift severe punishment. DPAs are now Canadian government policy. Using them is not a violation of the rule of law.In our system of government, it is normal that a minister who does not agree with government policy is shuffled out of the way; every minister knew that when they took the job. It cannot be called a veiled threat.Dave Parnas, OttawaCorruption isn’t just an American problemI followed the testimony of both former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and former Canadian attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould. Both were there to tell the truth. I came away with the awful and disgusted feeling that people in power will do anything to stay in power. I naïvely believed and accepted that this only happens in America. How wrong was I – this happens right here in Canada, where just recently our government was touting Canada as a “rule of law” country. I now more fully appreciate a Chinese saying: “All crows are black.”Dorothy Chan, OttawaWho will get her to cross the floor?Depending on one’s point of view concerning SNC-Lavalin, the best thing about Jody Wilson-Raybould is “she is not a team player” and the worst thing is” she is not a team player.”Is it unreasonable to wonder which political parties will jump at the chance to invite her to cross the floor?Nita Saville, Ottawa
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets supporters in Montreal on Wednesday. Is he still a feminist, one reader wonders.
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THE CANADIAN PRESS
Only Trudeau’s definition of feminism appliesYesterday I watched intently the testimony of Jody Wilson-Raybould. I watched a woman of strength, integrity and honesty. My question today is: When a woman say “no,” she means “no”: What part of “no” did these men not understand?Is this a gang mentality? Is this Justin Trudeau’s idea of feminism – it’s OK as long as you agree with me? Everyone in the PMO should resign. And there is no confidence in the clerk of the Privy Council.Andrea Doyle, PerthWhy was deal with SNC-Lavalin rejected?Step 1: The government passed special legislation to make Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA) available to companies such as SNC-Lavalin so they could avoid criminal prosecution for their misdeeds. The then-attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, voted in favour of this legislation.Step 2: The Director of Public Prosecution, Kathleen Roussel, decided against offering SNC-Lavalin a DPA. No rationale was given publicly to support her decision.Step 3: Wilson-Raybould declined to direct the Director of Public Prosecution to change her position and allow SNC-Lavalin access to DPA. The rationale for her decision to not issue a directive was not given publicly.It seems very strange that the government would pass legislation to make DPAs available for a company, then deny the company the right to access the DPA. As a minimum for the sake of transparency, the director of Public Prosecutions and the attorney general must make public their rationale for the denial.Unfortunately, the story has gone off the rails because of the accusation of inappropriate pressure applied by the government.Larry Janis, OttawaMr. Prime Minister, ‘no’ means ‘no’It seems that when Jody Wilson-Raybould said no to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he didn’t think that “no means no” or that it pertained to him, so he persisted because “he was doing his job.”Peter Hedden, Kanata
Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick waits to testify before the House of Commons justice committee Feb. 21.
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Wernick, in particular, had no excuseGiven what we now have heard regarding the SNC-Lavalin debacle, it is hard to imagine that there would not be a flood of resignations, if not firings. The person who should carry out these dismissals warrants dismissal himself, and I suspect that can/will only happen at the ballot box.It doesn’t surprise me that Gerald Butts, Katie Telford, Elder Marques, Mathieu Bouchard, Ben Chin, or Bill Morneau would stoop to these depths, as they are political animals bent on political survival. However, I was very surprised and disappointed to see that a supposedly non-partisan participant, Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, would get involved to the extent he did in this scrum. As a senior public servant working for the people of Canada and not the Liberal party, shouldn’t his interests and loyalties lie elsewhere?At a minimum, Wernick is the one person who should find himself out.Kudos to Jody Wilson-Raybould and her chief of staff for demonstrating some rarely seen (in Ottawa politics) integrity. Apart from her performance, the whole episode would have been totally and utterly depressing. It is time for the party to rid itself of its “sunny ways” hypocrisy and put in place mechanisms to re-establish what was once a respected Canadian federal party.Ken Winges, OttawaShe should file harassment chargesJody Wilson-Raybould, well-respected for her incredible honesty and for not toeing the party line, should file a workplace harassment charge against the prime minister and the PMO.Our prime minister states he is a champion of women’s rights and the rights of minorities. It is a complete fabrication: If he were a true champion of such rights, he would not have treated Wilson-Raybould the way he did or allow the PMO’s office to harass her to change her mind.Trudeau has said a woman who comes forward with complaints of sexual assault and harassment must be supported and believed. So why does Justin Trudeau refuse to support and believe Jody Wilson-Raybould?Ross Ayotte, Smiths FallsSo much for saving the free worldI was re-reading an old Rolling Stone from July 2017 and the cover story was on our prime minister. It said, “He was raised in jet set privilege but overcame tragedy to become Canada’s Prime Minister. Is he the free world’s best hope?”Maybe not.John McAuley, OttawaWe need more truth-tellers like herKudos to Jody Wilson-Raybould for her courageous testimony and for resisting pressure by the prime minister and his office to interfere politically in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. Her Indigenous heritage is important and has a lot to teach us.I watched part of her testimony on TV, and was impressed by her meticulous documentation of dates, names, memos and phone calls. Although she clearly laid out many facts, the prime minister dismisses these by saying that he disagrees. Really? His disagreeing without providing any facts of his own undermines his opinion. We need more truth-tellers like Jody Wilson-Raybould, and fewer MPs and cabinet ministers who blindly toe some party line.I very much believe in her testimony; she deserves a lot of credit, and is my kind of government minister.Bruce Switzer, OttawaKudos to the columnistsIt is with great admiration that I read in the Citizen the detailed and well-written accounts of the Justice Committee testimony given by Jody Wilson-Raybould. Kudos to Andrew Coyne, John Ivison, Colby Cosh and Christie Blatchford (in order of appearance).Hartmut Heyck, Blackburn HamletOn-again, off-again respect for lawI don’t know enough about how the government of China thinks about things, but one thing is sure: It is either amused or outraged by the Liberal government’s apparent on-again, off-again adherence to the “rule of law.”David Polk, OttawaThis way to the banana republicJustin Trudeau’s actions and those of his cronies – not Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony – may cost him and many of his MPs their jobs. As a truth-teller, Wilson-Raybould documented a whole-of-government effort to politically interfere with the administration of justice, an end run around the rule-of-law.I felt so dirty I had to shower after I heard the Liberals questioning her at committee. To a person, they provided a workshop on how many different ways you can ask the same meaningless question (why didn’t you resign for doing your job?), under the guise of trying to understand. This is certainly a roadmap for how to transition Canada from shining rule-of-law beacon to banana-republic status.Time to lawyer up, folks. I think the next knock at your front door may be the RCMP doing what they should be doing: investigating independently and laying charges, as applicable.Eric R. Stephen, OttawaSome skunks smell more than othersWhether you have been following the Jody Wilson-Raybould revelations in Canadian politics or the equally sleazy Michael Cohen disclosures south of the border, it should come as no surprise that some politicians will do whatever they must to get and stay elected.Just like skunks, they may eventually emit such an offensive stench that it becomes difficult to ignore. If you don’t want to risk having a skunk in your home, why would you risk having a skunk allegedly looking after your broader interests?Although the two-legged skunk may be an unfortunate part of the political fabric, perhaps it is time for some new and hopefully less smelly skunks.F. Dale Boire, OttawaWe need to know why DPA wasn’t usedSection 715.32 of the Criminal Code authorizes a prosecutor to enter into a remediation agreement with an organization that is alleged to have committed a crime, if the conditions set out are met. The factors to consider are outlined in the section.The first thing that should be noted is that the section is discretionary – the use of the word “may.” The discretion lies with the prosecutor, in this case the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the director’s boss, the Attorney General of Canada.In Canada, as in England (although the AG is not a member of the cabinet in England), discretion must be exercised independently based on good reason. It is not to be exercised arbitrarily. Once the conditions are met and the factors compelling, the discretion should be exercised in favour of a remediation agreement unless there are good reasons not to. The government is entitled to know the reasons when remediation is refused.If the exercise of discretion is not based on good reasons, the government is perfectly entitled to try to persuade the AG to act otherwise. It is the government’s responsibility to act in the best interests of all Canadians.Unfortunately, the Canadian public has not been told why the DPP refused to enter into a remediation agreement. All the former AG said in her testimony was that a decision had been made and she was being pressured to change it. Let Canadians know the reasons for that decision so that we can decide whether it was made arbitrarily or based on good reasons.R.E. Salhany, Ottawa,Time for another famous Trudeau walk?Feb. 28 marked the 35th anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s famous Walk in the Snow.One might be persuaded by Justin Trudeau’s argument that he was only fighting to preserve SNC-Lavalin jobs for Canadians had not Jody Wilson-Raybould’s riveting testimony been filled with numerous references to concerns about Liberal electoral chances in both the Quebec and federal elections. Her compelling and convincing description of how Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick all were concerned about losing votes and not jobs tells all.The Weather Network is calling for a sunny day with nary a flurry in sight. Pity!Doug Boeckh, OttawaResign, liars and cheatsThis is a gutsy woman with integrity. How novel. She withstood significant pressure from very powerful people and did not succumb. I believe we need to hear about her short experience as Veterans Affairs Minister and the reason for her resignation.Once again, sins were committed for a Quebec company in the name of saving jobs. We all know this is about saving votes. Jobs are just incidental.I have never been so disappointed nor disillusioned with our government. This is a clear violation of the rules of law. It should be properly investigated. Justin Trudeau and his compadres should resign.Talk about non-transparency and divisiveness. I cannot abide liars and cheats.Sue Warren, OttawaResignations don’t solve problemsHow odd things are in politics. As soon as something is amiss, resignation seems to be the right thing. Is it really?Many people wanted Lisa MacLeod to resign over autism. Now Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to resign. If these people did resign, would all be well once again? Certainly not.If MacLeod resigned, would the autism issue be fixed? Certainly not. If the prime minister resigned, would we all be OK tomorrow morning?The Oct. 21 election is coming; let voters decide on that day.Anant Nagpur, OttawaTrudeau must go – before we boot him outAfter Jody Wilson-Raybould’s methodical but complete evisceration of Justin Trudeau, there seems little left for him but to resign now or wait for the upcoming election when we can boot him out.Barry Donnelly, OttawaWernick is a man of integrityI worked with Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick for several years at the Department of Canadian Heritage, and I know that he would never make statements without having the evidence to back them up.If he says that there was no undue pressure put on the minister of Justice and Attorney General for Canada while he was present at a meeting, then I am sure that there wasn’t. If he says that we need to be concerned about the declining level of political discourse in Canada and the future integrity of our democratic system, then we should take heed. It is sometimes not easy for a public servant to present unpleasant facts to political masters, but Wernick always did so if he felt that this message had to be delivered. It is distressing to see him criticized for doing his job.M. Sharon Jeannotte (retired federal public servant), OttawaSorry, but this is the way the world worksJody Wilson-Raybould is certainly no team player. She also obviously has no idea how the big bad world works. Countries that can’t defend themselves, that can’t keep up economically, industrially, militarily, scientifically, or politically get destroyed.I am sure that our prime minister tried to explain all this to Wilson-Raybould. As much as he would like to play nice-nice in this cruel world of ours, he has learned that he must do everything he can to defend SNC-Lavalin and our other Canadian industries if we are to have a wealthy country for much longer.Bruce Mullen, Ottawa