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One is legal; the other is illegal

April 2019

Re:  Worst part of the Lavalin mess is the Tory response (Jim Warren, Toronto Sun, 7 April 2019):  Although I’m a Conservative, I do respect and appreciate Jim Warren’s observations but on this one, he’s way off base.

Yes, opposition members did once criticize former Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Rabould, as they should.  It’s certainly debatable whether she was a good minister and she had some very controversial opinions (Colton Boushie).  

I certainly don’t agree with her politically, but on the SNC Lavalin issue, she was absolutely within her rights to deny the Deferred Prosecution Agreement and to caution the Prime Minister’s Office and others regarding interference.  For Warren to try to compare Doug Ford’s threatening to enact the Notwithstanding Clause is laughable.  One is constitutionally legal (Notwithstanding Clause) and the other amounts to an obstruction of justice (allegedly) and therefore is illegal (allegedly).

I personally admire Wilson-Raybould for her principled stance, even if I would likely never vote for her.  She did something that few politicians today would do and that is admirable.

I will give Warren credit for one thing:  Trudeau was indeed trying to save jobs, but not necessarily the ones at SNC Lavalin.  Trudeau was trying to save his job and the jobs of other Liberals in Quebec.  Any jobs saved at SNC Lavalin would have simply been a happy side-effect. 

However, there is debate as to whether any jobs, at SNC Lavalin or jobs in general, would have been lost.  It’s very likely that any jobs lost at SNC Lavalin, due to being banned from government contracts, would have been quickly picked up by other engineering firms.  Over 14, 000 jobs were lost at A.V. Roe Canada in 1959 when the Avro Arrow project was cancelled, but most of those unemployed workers quickly found work with other aerospace companies, as well as NASA.

Similarly, the “best intentions” Trudeau had were also in saving Liberal Party jobs.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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