Politics Briefing: MPs and senators begin to speak about SNC-Lavalin affair

Good morning,

In the days after The Globe and Mail broke the story of the SNC-Lavalin affair (background here) that involved then-justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould resisting pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, anonymous Liberal “insiders” appeared in other reports criticizing the minister’s character. A week later, the Prime Minister’s Office finally disowned those off-the-record remarks. “The comments made about Jody Wilson-Raybould are simply unacceptable, and have no place in our political discourse,” a PMO spokesperson told APTN News.

On the record, Liberal MPs say they respect Ms. Wilson-Raybould, but that they have the PM’s back. “We’re a very cohesive team that looks to the leadership of the Prime Minister and that hasn’t changed in any way, shape or form as far as I can see,” caucus chair Francis Scarpaleggia told The Globe. (One Liberal MP, Anthony Housefather, mused yesterday that Ms. Wilson-Raybould might have been demoted because she doesn’t speak French – a comment he later apologized for.)

Also on the record are a group of Indigenous senators – most of whom were appointed by Justin Trudeau, but sit as independents – who say they commend Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s record as minister. They may have more to say after they meet in Ottawa next week.

But, back to SNC-Lavalin, what is not on the record is exactly how much money the Montreal construction giant does get from the federal government. Export Development Canada, a crown corporation that helps Canadian companies do business overseas, has given SNC-Lavalin 19 loans over the past 18 years, a Globe and Mail analysis found, but the amount of those loans is not clear: EDC will only say they are somewhere between $2-billion and $4.3-billion in total.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


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