Lavalin loses bid to negotiate agreement to avoid criminal trial

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks to reporters at a news conference on March 7 in Ottawa Canada. He was accused of interfering in a criminal investigation of SNC-Lavalin a powerful engineering firm

"I can repeat and reassure Canadians that there was no breakdown of our systems, of our rule of law, of the integrity of our institutions", he said.

"On this specific question of a DPA, that is the Attorney General's decision to make. and the Attorney General will make that decision", he told reporters in the northern city of Iqaluit. "Twice. Remember your reactions?"

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to a crowd at Western University's Alumni Hall, January 13, 2017. She speculated that she was shuffled from the attorney general position to veterans affairs minister because of her refusal to act.

SNC-Lavalin lost a court bid early Friday to overturn the public prosecutor's refusal to negotiate an agreement that would see the company avoid a criminal trial. "I think the heart of the matter is the conduct of the federal government and the global activities of SNC-Lavalin". The company was also accused of going on to defraud the Libyan government for as much as $97.3 million.

She also suggested jobs at the Quebec company would be more affected by Alberta's economy than the outcome of any criminal prosecution the company is facing.

"He didn't make the situation worse but he didn't significantly improve it, either, and the rest of the tale is yet to be told".

At the heart of the controversy are claims that Trudeau and his team pressured then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to cut a deal for SNC-Lavalin, an engineering firm from his home province of Quebec, and the implication that he demoted her when she refused.

"Really, when you look at the number of multi-billion-dollar projects procured over the next decade, we're talking probably realistically something in the four to six range of projects", he said.

"There was no inappropriate pressure", hit back Trudeau, who stood by his previous claim he made clear to Wilson-Raybould any decision was hers alone.

She named 11 government officials, including Trudeau's longtime friend and principal secretary Gerry Butts, saying they "urged me to take partisan political considerations into account, which was clearly improper". Trudeau said he asked his staff to follow up after his meeting with her because he believed she was still open to considering new arguments.

Butts wasn't at that September 17 meeting, but he testified about it.

Scheer spoke to reporters hours after Trudeau addressed the SNC-Lavalin controversy that has cost him two cabinet ministers and his most trusted adviser in just a month. "She did not come to me, and I wish she had", he said. Unlike other government matters, it's not up to cabinet or the prime minister.

Butts said all they wanted was for Wilson-Raybould to seek an outside legal opinion on the matter from an eminent retired judge.

Ms Wilson-Raybould had the power to scrap the decision to go to trial but decided against it.

The company said it provided the prosecutor's office with information showing the objectives of the remediation provisions were "easily met", including details of SNC-Lavalin's efforts to implement a world-class ethics and compliance program, as well as the complete turnover of the company's senior management and board of directors.

"There were detailed conversations on a broad range of things that were discussed and laid bare in the various testimonies that we heard over the past weeks", Trudeau responded.

The Trudeau government's strategy for the past week has been to shift the focus from electoral support in Quebec to protecting Canadian jobs.



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