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Trudeau Liberals need to change tactics to extinguish political flames of SNC-Lavalin affair: expert

Last Updated Feb 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm PDT

FILE: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould take part in the grand entrance as the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation commission is released, Tuesday December 15, 2015 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Summary

'Astounding, how they've reacted,' said a political expert of the Trudeau Liberals' handling of SNC-Lavalin controversy

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – It’s no secret the last week has been tough for the Trudeau government, since allegations surfaced that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office attempted to pressure the former justice minister to help engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

But one expert is surprised with how poorly the Liberals have handled the controversy.

“Astounding, how they’ve reacted to this,” said David Moscrop, a political scientist and Maclean’s contributor.

He says the Trudeau government has done a very bad job at trying to extinguish the flames in the political firestorm.

RELATED: Will Jody Wilson-Raybould leave the Liberals and join another party?

Moscrop says in this controversy, former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is seen as the victim and so the prime minister placing some of the blame on the Vancouver-Granville MP has been viewed as bullying.

In addition, Moscrop says the Liberals limiting the witness list for a justice committee investigation is not a good move.

“If the Opposition is saying this is a cover up and you want to send the message that ‘No, it’s not,’ what you don’t do is try to stonewall the investigation and leave key witnesses off the list.”

RELATED: Former SNC-Lavalin executive wants fraud and bribery case thrown out over delays

If the Liberals want to stop the bleeding well before the fall election, Moscrop believes they need to lay out the full story now, waive solicitor-client privilege to let Wilson-Raybould speak, and then hold someone accountable if there was any wrongdoing.

“You resolve these things by clearing the air and by there being some direct accountabilities that people can point to. So far, we’ve had none of that. It’s almost as if we’ve learned nothing from the sponsorship scandal.”

There may be short-term pain, but Moscrop says that may be better than letting this drag on until the election.