The Prime Minister of Canada acted unethically.
It’s not a complicated finding, even if the background of the SNC-Lavalin affair may be.
The country’s ethics commissioner issued a report this week that bluntly stated that Justin Trudeau violated Canada’s Conflict of Interest Act – a federal law – when he urged the attorney general to stop prosecution proceedings against the Quebec engineering firm.
Forget the upcoming election, and the lackluster performance of all parties. That’s irrelevant at the moment.
What does matter is that the person occupying the highest office in the land acted improperly.
It’s time for the excuses to stop and for the apologies to begin.
The Liberals have handled the file with all the grace of a toddler playing a violin.
They’ve tried to throw the old attorney general under the bus.
They’ve bizzarely suggested that the need to protect jobs was the primary concern – essentially arguing that the ends (which themselves are debatable) justify the means.
That suggests the Liberals would be open to future ethical breaches, so long as they would produce desirable outcomes (and remain undetected).
It’s possible that Trudeau was just ignorant that pressuring the attorney-general on the file amounted to an ethical breach. Certainly, everything he has said since suggests he doesn’t actually understand the conflict-of-interest rules that govern this country’s politicians.
But that’s no excuse for our Prime Minister.
He needs to apologize. Then he and his advisors need to familiarize themselves with boundaries that shall not be crossed.