OTTAWA — Justice Minister David Lametti says the director of public prosecutions should be the one to decide whether a company should have access to a remediation agreement to avoid being pursued for corporate crimes — most of the time.
The question of who has the final say on whether a company facing criminal trials should be offered a remediation agreement was at the heart of the SNC-Lavalin affair that rocked the Liberal government earlier this year, prompting ex-justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to resign from cabinet.
The federal ethics watchdog concluded this summer that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau contravened the Conflict of Interest Act when he tried to pressure Wilson-Raybould into intervening, as allowed by law, to head off criminal proceedings on corruption charges against the Montreal-based engineering firm.
Lametti won’t comment specifically on the case of SNC-Lavalin.
But he says a remediation agreement is “a legitimate tool” that belongs “primarily” to the public prosecution service, but there are “very rare circumstances” where an attorney general can step in and take over the process.
He says in those cases, making the decision public is a way to ensure the minister and the government is held to account for the choice.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2019.
The Canadian Press