House of Commons Hansard #398 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was company.

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Notice of MotionWays and MeansRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table a notice of a ways and means motion to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019, and other measures.

Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs), Lib.

Mr. Speaker, under the provisions of Standing order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaty entitled “Amendments to the Convention Placing the International Poplar Commission Within the Framework of FAO”.

While I am on my feet, I move:

That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those opposed will please say nay.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #1280

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

David Lametti

Mr. Speaker, I am tabling the government's responses to eight petitions and to Order Paper Questions Nos. 2242 to 2245.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, it has been four days now that Conservatives have tried to put forward a motion for an emergency debate on canola. The Liberal government refuses to hear that motion. The government continues to play games with some 43,000 producers in western Canada who need to make decisions on planting now. When will it take this issue seriously?

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member knows that I am subject to the rules of the House that require us to go on with orders of the day. It sounds like debate, but I thank him for raising his point.

The hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît on a point of order.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, for four days now, the government has been preventing us from introducing a private member's bill.

I therefore seek unanimous consent to introduce my bill, which would create a federal youth commissioner and help lift thousands of young people across the country out of poverty and vulnerability.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to introduce her bill?

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

The House resumed from April 3 consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that the entire SNC-Lavalin affair that has engulfed the government began with alleged bribes to the Gadhafi family and that now the government, which has become embroiled in that scandal by trying to protect the company from criminal prosecution and interfering in prosecutorial independence, is now so cynical and so sinister that it believes it can bribe Canadians with $41 billion of their own money in this budget.

Unfortunately for the government, Canadians are too smart and too moral to be distracted with billions of dollars of their own money. They understand that the Prime Minister is attempting to bury his unethical behaviour under that $41 billion of irresponsible spending, but they are not buying it.

We have new developments in this scandal just in the last 24 hours and let me begin by highlighting perhaps the most important of those developments. The Prime Minister stood before Canadians, 37 million of his own citizens, in a press conference on February 15 designed to distract from the scandal and there he said, “If anyone, including the former attorney general, had issues with anything they might have experienced in this government or didn't feel that we were living up to the high standards we set for itself, it was her responsibility to come forward. It was their responsibility to come forward, and no one did.”

He said that to 37 million Canadians, that no one came forward to raise any concerns. However, the former attorney general testified before the justice committee:

My response—and I vividly remember this as well—was to ask the Prime Minister a direct question, while looking him in the eye. I asked, “Are you politically interfering with my role/my decision as the Attorney General? I would strongly advise against it.”

That sounds to me like somebody came forward to him personally. In fairness, prior to yesterday, we did not have independent confirmation that she had said those words to the Prime Minister. We had her word, which I had accepted, but beyond her word we did not have documented proof or audio recordings of that exchange.

Yesterday, I rose in the House of Commons and said:

Mr. Speaker, at that September meeting, the former attorney general reports that she looked the Prime Minister in the eye and said, “Are you politically interfering with my role...as the Attorney General? I would strongly advise against it.”

Does the Prime Minister remember her saying any such thing?

The Prime Minister rose and replied, “Mr. Speaker, once she said that, I responded 'No'". The first clause in his response is the most important one. It is an admission and I am going to quote him again. He said, “once she said that”. In other words, he confirms that she looked him in the eye and said, “Are you politically interfering with my role/my decision as the Attorney General? I would strongly advise against it.” The fact that he admits that she raised his political interference to his face in September proves he was stating a blatant falsehood when, in February, he said that no one came forward.

The one final defence on which the Prime Minister could justify his February 15 statement would be that he did not remember when his former attorney general looked him in the eye and asked him if he was politically interfering in her role. However, his admission yesterday that he did remember it proves the memory loss defence is invalid.

Yesterday the Prime Minister remembered it. Therefore, we can conclude that on February 15 he remembered it. We can finally conclude that when he was looking Canadians in the eyes and claiming no one had come forward, he was stating something he knew was false. There is a word for that, a word that would require I violate the Standing Orders to utter. Therefore, I will not do that in this place. However, I will be ever careful and ever cautious that a growing and longer nose from across the floor does not swing around and poke me in the eye as I give these remarks.

That intervention proves that the Prime Minister has not been telling the truth to Canadians. While he was simultaneously sending out the hounds to tear apart his two former cabinet ministers, whistle-blowers who had spoken against him, he was also prepared to state patent falsehoods about them.

The whole narrative he was trying to create in stating those falsehoods was that somehow the former attorney general had testified against him at the justice committee out of political opportunism. She had never raised any concern about this SNC-Lavalin affair and was completely fine with everything he was doing. When she was shuffled out of what Gerry Butts called her “dream job”, only then had she come up with this big story about how the Prime Minister was mucking around in a criminal trial. In order to sell that narrative, he had to state the falsehood that she had never once raised any concern. We now know not only that it was false, but that he knew it was false and said it anyway.

We further know that the Prime Minister stood by and watched as his best friend and principal secretary went before a parliamentary committee and testified that no one had come forward and raised any concerns. If what they were doing was so wrong, Gerald Butts said, then why were they not having that conversation in September, in October, in November, in December?

Why were they not having the conversation? We now have 41 pages of documentary evidence showing that conversation was seemingly never-ending in September, in October, in November, in December. Gerald Butts sat in that committee and looked members of this House in the eyes, as well as the millions of Canadians who were watching live, and stated a patent falsehood. It was a patent falsehood he knew was wrong because much of the documentary evidence shows that he participated in the very conversations he later claimed never happened.

That members of the government are prepared to go before parliamentary committees and state things they know are absolutely false sheds light on why Liberals at the justice committee did not want any of the witnesses to swear an oath before they began their testimony. It is clear that Gerald Butts did not want to swear an oath that he would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He wanted to be able to tell things other than the truth.

That sentence about why they were not having that conversation during the four months, September to December, was one such example. He knew he wanted to say something that was totally false. Therefore, he had his Liberal members on the committee ensure that he would not have to swear an oath that might render him susceptible to allegations of contempt, though we are not ruling out the possibility that he may well have been in contempt for having stated such patent and now disproved falsehoods.

The first new development that we have had in less than than 24 hours is that the Prime Minister has admitted that the former attorney general did come forward to him in September, months before, almost half a year before, the scandal became public. However, he said exactly the opposite in a press conference.

The second new development is actually a big one. I am not sure if people realize the enormity of it. A CBC article that was published yesterday, April 3, at 8 p.m., noted, “Weeks of tense negotiations preceded the PM's highly controversial decision to eject two high-profile MPs.”

While the Prime Minister was trying to put a public face on this scandal, we now know that behind the scenes he was trying to transact a secret deal in order to keep the former attorney general and the former Treasury Board president from leaving caucus altogether. He was trying to make offers to them in order to have them stay so that he could grasp onto the last shreds of the phony feminist and idealistic self-image that he had worked so hard over so many years to create. He wanted to find a way to get them to replace their condemnations and whistle-blowing with yet more praise. Behind the scenes, the whole time the scandal was raging, he was sending emissaries to make offers to them in order to get them to do that.

According to the article, the former attorney general sought five different conditions in order to bring an end to the public controversy. I will note before going into them that as I examined the five conditions she allegedly sought in order to end this public controversy or at least to stop speaking about it, none of them involved any benefit to her. I am going to list them off.

First, she wanted to see the removal of Gerald Butts, the now-disgraced former principal secretary to the Prime Minister.

Second, she wanted to see the removal of the Clerk of the Privy Council, who we have now heard pressured her relentlessly in a 17-minute conversation in which he attempted to change her mind on the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin through veiled threats.

Third, she wanted to see the removal of Mathieu Bouchard, to whom we will return later and at length.

Fourth, she also wanted a commitment that the new Attorney General would not overrule the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, and would not direct her to give SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement.

Fifth and finally, which should have been a no-brainer, she wanted the Prime Minister to admit publicly or to caucus alone, as the CBC article notes, “that his office acted inappropriately in its attempts to convince her to consider granting SNC-Lavalin a [deferred prosecution agreement].” In other words, the Prime Minister was asked to just own up to his own behaviour, take responsibility for it, admit it was wrong and commit to never doing it again.

It is not clear which of the remaining conditions were not met, but we do know which ones were. I will list them very quickly.

The former attorney general's demands, according to the article, that Butts and Wernick be removed have been met. These two are gone. Of the five conditions, the disgraced principal secretary is out and the disgraced Clerk of the Privy Council is out.

Now we are down to three remaining conditions. They are that Mathieu Bouchard, the senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister be removed; that the new Attorney General prevent the—

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am sitting two rows behind the hon. member for Carleton and I cannot hear him because of what is coming from the other side.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I was about to stand on that and bring the House to order, because I am hearing it from both sides, not just from one side. There seems to be a conversation going on across the floor and it is making it very difficult to hear the hon. member for Carleton, so I want to remind hon. members that if they are having a conversation, they should keep it to a whisper and not be so loud.

Thank you for that point of order. That was well done.

The hon. member for Carleton.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have the five conditions that the former attorney general set.

There are two that have been met. One is that the disgraced principal secretary, Gerry Butts, has resigned. The other is that the disgraced Privy Council clerk, Michael Wernick, has resigned.

However, there remain three conditions that have not not been met: one, senior adviser Mathieu Bouchard remains and has not left, which was one of the purported conditions; two, apparently she does not yet have any commitment from the Prime Minister that the new Attorney General will not interfere and provide a deferred prosecution agreement to SNC-Lavalin; and three, the Prime Minister has not taken responsibility for his actions in this affair.

Let us go through those conditions and analyze further what remains and why they remain conditions in the current government.

We will start with Mathieu Bouchard. His role in this has been little noticed, but it is one of great importance.

We are all aware that Gerry Butts inappropriately pressured the former attorney general. We all have the audio recordings of Michael Wernick doing the same. What we do not have and have not discussed here is the relentless drive of the Prime Minister's senior policy adviser, Mathieu Bouchard, to try to tamper with the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

Let me read from the former attorney general's testimony before the committee. She stated:

My chief of staff had a phone call with Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques from the Prime Minister's Office. They wanted to discuss SNC. They told her that SNC had made further submissions to the Crown and that “there is some softening, but not much”. They said that they understand that the individual Crown prosecutor wants to negotiate an agreement, but the director does not.

This is very important information. How is it that a senior policy adviser to the current Liberal Prime Minister would be aware of any disagreement between an individual Crown prosecutor and the director of public prosecutions? Under the Federal Accountability Act, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is made separate and self-contained. It is apolitical and out of reach of political interference by the Prime Minister and even the Attorney General. Its decisions are made in total isolation from the political process, with the sole exception that an attorney general may issue a written directive. However, that directive would have to be published for all eyes to see in the Canada Gazette, which is like a news magazine telling the Canadian people the regulatory and administrative decisions of the government. In other words, it would be absolutely inappropriate for the senior adviser to the Prime Minister to have intimate knowledge about the disagreements and conversations within the office of the director of public prosecutions.

This is precisely why we need the senior adviser to come before the ethics committee when it begins its investigation into this matter next Tuesday. We have asked for him to appear. I have said very clearly that if this senior prime ministerial adviser, along with other witnesses alleged to have interfered in this criminal prosecution, are called before the committee, I will end my marathon speech immediately. I await a member of government rising to his or her feet to tell me that, at which point I will take the government's word and end my remarks so it can speak on other matters before this House.

She goes on in this intervention:

They also mention the Quebec election. They asked my chief if someone had suggested the outside advice idea to the PPSC and asked whether we are open to this suggestion. They wanted to know if my deputy could do it.

She went on to state:

In response, my chief of staff stressed to them prosecutorial independence and potential concerns about the interference in the independence of the prosecutorial functions. Mr. Bouchard and Mr. Marques

—two senior advisers to the Prime Minister—

kept telling her that they didn't want to cross any lines, but they asked my chief of staff to follow up with me directly on this matter.

She goes on to state:

Later that day, my chief of staff had a phone call with Elder Marques and Mathieu Bouchard from the Prime Minister's Office. They wanted an update on what was going on regarding the DPAs since “we don't have a ton of time”. She relayed my summary of the meeting with the Clerk and the Prime Minister.

Two senior prime ministerial advisers, Mathieu and Elder, also raised the idea of an informal outreach to the director of public prosecutions. Why not? Why not just have someone in the Attorney General's office or the PMO informally reach out to maybe have a beer and talk about how this criminal prosecution could be squashed? That is how our legal system is supposed to work—informal outreach, which in reality means backroom dealings.

The former attorney general goes on to state:

My chief of staff said that she knew I was not comfortable with that, as it looked like and probably did constitute political interference. They asked whether that was true if it wasn't the Attorney General herself, but if it was her staff or the deputy minister. My chief of staff said “yes”, it would, and offered a call with me directly.

These are the early interventions of Mr. Bouchard, senior PMO adviser, in mid-September.

She then goes on to state:

At this point, after September 20, there was an apparent pause in communicating with myself or my chief of staff on the SNC matter. We did not hear from anyone again until October 18 when Mathieu Bouchard called my chief of staff and asked that we—I—look at the option of my seeking an external legal opinion on the DPP's decision not to extend an invitation to negotiate a DPA.

Of course, that would not have been necessary, because the former attorney general had already made her decision clear: She was not going to intervene and overturn the decision of the prosecutor, regardless of some outside opinion the Prime Minister cooked up with a friendly lawyer. This call constituted further and unnecessary political interference.

The former attorney general went on to state:

...on October 26, 2018, when my chief of staff spoke to [PMO adviser] Mathieu Bouchard and communicated to him that, given that SNC had now filed in Federal Court seeking to review the DPP's decision, surely we had moved past the idea of the Attorney General intervening or getting an opinion on the same question. Mathieu replied that he was still interested in an external legal opinion idea. Could she not get an external legal opinion on whether the DPP had exercised their discretion properly, and then on the application itself, the Attorney General could intervene and seek to stay the proceedings, given that she was awaiting a legal opinion?

In other words, Mr. Bouchard, operating on behalf of the Prime Minister, suggested that the former attorney general slam the brakes on the trial itself by seeking a stay. A stay means that the Attorney General would go to the court and ask if the whole trial could be put on hold, that the PMO has hooked the AG up with a legal opinion from a Liberal legal mind who would offer an opinion shortly about whether the company should get a settlement instead of a criminal trial. In the meantime, the court would just hit the pause button and delay justice. That is absolutely inappropriate.

The former attorney general wrote further:

My chief of staff said that this would obviously be perceived as interference and her boss questioning the DPP's decision. Mathieu

—again, one of the top PMO advisers—

said that if six months from the election SNC announces they're moving their headquarters out of Canada, that is bad. He said, “We can have the best policy in the world but we need to get re-elected.”

That does not sound political at all, does it?

There are two things here that we need to address.

First, Monsieur Bouchard was stating a patent falsehood. He was saying here that SNC could move its office within six months. We know that is impossible. This intervention, by the way, was made in October. There was November, December, January, February, March and we are now in April, which is six months, and so far there is no announcement of the headquarters move, and we know why: SNC has already signed a $1.5-billion loan agreement with the Quebec pension plan that requires its headquarters to stay in Canada. It has just signed a 20-year lease on its Montreal headquarters. It announced a multi-million-dollar renovation of that headquarters to accommodate its employees. All of this is publicly available if someone consults with Mr. Google.

Despite this publicly available evidence to the contrary, this senior PMO adviser was stating that the former attorney general had to immediately find a way to shelve the criminal prosecution of this company or the headquarters would move.

It is one thing to interfere in a criminal prosecution. It is another thing, and even more significant, to lie in order to shelve a criminal prosecution. Section 139 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence for anyone to attempt to defeat, pervert or obstruct the course of justice. If the course of justice was for SNC-Lavalin to face its fraud and bribery charges in court, then lying to interrupt that process would certainly have constituted an attempt to defeat, pervert or obstruct the course of justice. As a result, I hope the RCMP will investigate whether this lie constituted a criminal offence.

The second part I will focus on is this. It is hard to believe that in one sentence we have two things that are so spectacularly inappropriate, the first being the aforementioned lie and the second being the overt politicization of the prosecutorial and criminal process in saying, “We can have the best policy in the world but we need to get re-elected.” Excuse me? Is this how the Prime Minister's Office treats criminal trials? We literally have a top adviser who is still on the payroll in the PMO who called up the attorney general's office, spoke to the chief of staff and said that she had to interfere in the criminal prosecution of a massive Liberal-linked corporation because they need—I am quoting—to get re-elected. This is astonishing. It is absolutely astonishing that this guy is still on the payroll.

The fact that the Prime Minister has had this information, as we all have now, for over a month since the former attorney general appeared and testified, and has not fired this man, is astonishing. What is worse—

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

MaryAnn Mihychuk Liberal Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

It's over.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

I just heard a member across the way yell, “It's over.” The member for Kildonan—St. Paul is yelling, “It's over”.

Well, they hope it is over.

The Liberals hope that by punishing and attempting to humiliate and attack the two courageous women who were whistle-blowers in this scandal, they have managed to make this thing over. It is not over; it is just beginning.

I hear laughter across the way, laughter at the prospect that a senior PMO adviser would lie and would ask for electoral politics to play a role in the decision to pursue a criminal prosecution against a major company accused of fraud and bribery. That is what makes the Liberals laugh in this chamber.

I now will move on to further testimony by the former attorney general in October. She said:

...the PMO requested that I meet with Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques to discuss the matter, which I did on November 22. This meeting was quite long; I would say about an hour and a half. I was irritated by having to have this meeting, as I had already told the Prime Minister, etc., that a [deferred prosecution agreement]...on SNC was not going to happen, that I was not going to issue a directive. Mathieu, [the senior PMO adviser] in this meeting, did most of the talking. He was trying to tell me that there were options and that I needed to find a solution. I took them through the [director of public prosecutions]...Act, section 15 and section 10, and talked about the prosecutorial independence as a constitutional principle, and that they were interfering. I talked about the section 13 note, which they said they had never received, but I reminded them that we sent it to them in September [two months earlier]. [Senior PMO advisers] Mathieu and Elder continued to plead their case, talking about if I'm not sure in my decision, that we could hire an eminent person to advise me. They were kicking the tires. I said no. My mind had been made up and they needed to stop. This was enough.

I go on to the second part of my question:

...there were sustained efforts at communications, not only with me but with my office, from various members of the Prime Minister's Office, including Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques, both of whom are policy advisers and legal advisers to the Prime Minister, as well as Gerry Butts and Katie Telford. It would have been, in my view, not a secret that these were concerns that I had.

Now if this was not enough, in the question and answer portion of her testimony, one of the Liberal members asked, “I understand that you referred...that there was one discussion with Mr. Bouchard, and he asked you whether you would consider the option of seeking an external legal opinion.”

The response from the former attorney general was:

In the context of deferred prosecution agreements and SNC, yes. I had that conversation with [[PMO advisors]...Bouchard,...Marques and a number of other individuals.

At that time, all of those individuals knew that I was firm on my decision not to interfere with the discretion of the director of public prosecutions, and having conversations about hiring external legal counsels in that environment is entirely inappropriate.

Let us be clear on one thing here. Gerry Butts, in his very dishonest testimony, seemed to suggest that all he was asking for was that she get a second opinion, like if someone goes to a doctor and gets a prognosis that one is not sure about, one can just go and get a second opinion. We now know from text messages, which have been tabled in the House, that Gerald Butts believed that a second opinion was already determined in what the opinion would be. In other words, he knew what that second opinion would say before even asking for it.

The former attorney and her team questioned what would happen if the second opinion did not back up his desire for her to interfere and offer a DPA. In reply, Gerry Butts said that it would not say that. In other words, he knew exactly what the second opinion would say. It was rigged from the start and it was an attempt to manipulate the former attorney general and force her through a rigged second opinion to interfere and allow SNC-Lavalin to avoid a trial.

Let us put to rest once and for all the manipulative comments of Gerry Butts when he claimed that this was merely an attempt to get another legal scholar involved. It was nothing of the sort. It was attempt to rig the process and hand her an opinion for which the outcome was predetermined.

However, the former attorney general goes on in her testimony. She is speaking again about PMO adviser Mathieu Bouchard. She said:

I will say, with respect to the conversations you mentioned, and Mathieu Bouchard's remarks about an individual prosecutor's opinion being different from that of the director of public prosecutions, I can't help but wonder why he would bring that up. How would he know that? How had he garnered that information?

For context, what she is talking about is Mathieu Bouchard's, senior PMO adviser, claim to have direct knowledge of disagreements between the top prosecutor and the Crown attorney assigned to this particular trial. The fact that the Prime Minister's Office at the highest levels was knowledgeable about internal discussions within the office of the director of public prosecutions suggests something very ominous that we have not yet examined, and it is this.

We already know that the PMO, the finance minister and their staff interfered with the former attorney general. We already know, through 41 pages of text, journal entries and also audio recordings, that this happened. It is not even really disputed anymore. However, what we do not yet know is whether there was similar pressure from the Prime Minister's team directly to the office of the director of public prosecutions.

In order to give viewers who might not understand the superstructure of this situation, we have the Prime Minister's Office, the Attorney General's Office and then on the other side we have the director of public prosecutions. That director is responsible for prosecuting all federal offences except for those that fall to provincial Crown attorneys. In other words, this director is responsible for prosecuting SNC-Lavalin on the charges of fraud and bribery.

We know the Prime Minister was interfering with his attorney general. We know he was trying to get her to interfere with the director of public prosecutions. What we do not know yet is whether the Prime Minister's Office might have actually gone around the former attorney general directly to the office of the director of public prosecutions. However, the fact that this senior adviser was knowledgeable about internal discussions in the office of the director suggests that may well have happened. If there is some other explanation, for example, that SNC-Lavalin was feeding information from its talks with the director over to the PMO, it would be equally problematic. At the very least, we should know the truth.

How did Mathieu Bouchard, a senior PMO adviser, come to know about the internal discussions and the alleged disagreements that were ongoing in the office of the director of public prosecutions?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

An hon. member

Did they ask him at the justice committee?