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.

Just Posted

Fuel and copper wire thefts in Columbia Valley

Columbia Valley RCMP report October 7-13th

Stabbing in Radium leads to high-risk takedown

Two men arrested in relation to attack

Volunteers wanted for housing task force

District of Invermere seeks range of participants for study

Former Liberal candidate endorses Greens in Kootenay-Columbia

Don Johnston says he’ll be voting for Abra Brynne on Oct. 21

Invermere buys Athalmer land for $5 million

Celebratory barbecue to come

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Advanced polls see 29 per cent increase in voter turn out from 2015

Some 4.7 million people took part, says Elections Canada

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

A waiver to enter the U.S. can cost $2,000 and isn’t a guarantee

Health concerns over vaping cast haze over Canadian cannabis market expansion

More than 1,000 people in the United States, and a handful in Canada, have developed a lung ailment

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

Most Read