Opposition tries to revive SNC-Lavalin affair on ethics committee

OTTAWA – Once again, the opposition in Ottawa is putting the job back on the book.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Conservatives and New Democrats were trying to keep the SNC-Lavalin affair alive in the access to information, privacy and ethics committee.

The opposition was seeking to call the two former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott before the committee by April 5th. She also asked that Justin Trudeau remove any secrecy restrictions from the cabinet so that the former Minister of Justice could also talk about the short time she became Minister of Veterans Affairs.

On Monday, we learned that Mrs. Wilson-Raybould had another conflict with the Prime Minister; in 2017, that one. She had then, according to Canadian Press sources, sought to appoint a Manitoba judge to replace the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Glenn Joyal, chosen by the minister, would have been directly appointed chief justice, which would have been rather exceptional. And then, tradition has it that there is alternation between the position of a judge of English Canada and a judge of Quebec, to reflect the nature of Canadian law where we find the Civil Code and the Common Law.

Judge Joyal is also said to have frowned at the Prime Minister’s office because of his stance on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It is the Quebecer Richard Wagner, a Supreme Court judge since 2012, who finally won the position of Chief Justice in December 2017.

Asked to comment on this new information, the Prime Minister was not very talkative.

“The choice of judges at the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is always up to the Prime Minister to make that choice. And Canadians can know that we are a government that will always respect our institutions, always respect the independence of the Supreme Court. And that’s why I will not have more comments to make on that, “he said at a news briefing in Winnipeg on Tuesday morning.

Then he refused to say whether the information obtained by The Canadian Press came from his office, repeating that his government respects the institutions and the Supreme Court and would make no further comment.

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