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Trudeau blames poor communications for SNC-Lavalin scandal

Staff Writer | March 7, 2019
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blamed poor communications and an "erosion of trust" between his former top adviser and Jody Wilson-Raybould for the SNC-Lavalin controversy.
Justin Trudeau
Canada   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
At a news conference Thursday in Ottawa, Trudeau said he tasked his staff members to engage Wilson-Raybould on the file while she was justice minister to stress the potential impact of her decision. In hindsight, he said, he should have reached out "personally" on the crucial matter instead of dispatching staff.

Trudeau said an "erosion of trust" developed between his principal secretary at the time, Gerry Butts, and Wilson-Raybould.

"I was not aware of that erosion of trust and as prime minister and leader of the federal ministry, I should have been," he said.​

Trudeau confirmed Wilson-Raybould told him on Sept. 17, 2018 of her decision to not intervene by ordering a remediation agreement for SNC-Lavalin as an alternative to criminal prosecution. Trudeau said he asked her to revisit that decision and she replied that she would.

Trudeau said his officials reached out to Wilson-Raybould in subsequent months because he believed she was still "open" to other options on the SNC-Lavalin case. Trudeau said Wilson-Raybould never told him she believed those contacts amounted to inappropriate pressure.

"She did not come to me, and I wish she had."