As RCMP lies in wait, legal minds ponder whether Ottawa’s SNC-Lavalin scandal warrants criminal probe


Many words have been tossed around to describe the allegations that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould in the SNC-Lavalin affair: bombshell, shocking, explosive, inappropriate.

But one word could take this scandal from a House of Commons committee room to a courtroom: illegal.


“Neither opinion settles the matter,” said Ottawa-based defence lawyer Michael Spratt. “It’s not clearly not obstruction.”

According to the Criminal Code, obstructing justice covers “everyone who wilfully attempts in any manner … to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice.”

In her testimony, Wilson-Raybould said she faced intense political pressure and veiled threats related to the SNC-Lavalin affair, and was warned directly by Trudeau about the negative consequences if the company faced prosecution. SNC-Lavalin was facing corruption charges for contracts in Libya and was lobbying for a remediation agreement as an alternative to criminal prosecution.


Spratt said he doesn’t think the case is a “slam dunk,” for police and prosecutors, but “it’s starting to sound a lot like obstruction.”

Read Catharine Tunney’s full story: CBC News