We’ve just published our weekly edition of Muslims in The House for the week of February 25 – March 1, 2019!
This week’s edition covers issues relating to the SNC-Lavin Affair and Bill C-83
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The controversy related to the handling of the SNC-Lavin file by the Liberal Government dominated the House of Commons this week. MPs from the Conservative and NDP caucus pressed the Prime Minister on his role in the SNC-Lavin Affair.
The SNC-Lavin controversy related to allegations of political interference and obstruction of justice by senior government officials, who pressured the then-Attorney General to approve a deferred prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavin, who was being charged for bribing officials in the Libyan government in 2011.
Concerns and frustrations were raised by MPs relating the inference of political interference on a file that should be handled independently and without intervention from the Prime Minister. Among them, MP Lisa Raitt (Milton, ON - PC) and MP Murray Rankin (Victoria, BC - NDP) questioned what authority the Prime Minister had to apply improperly political pressure on the Attorney General and interfere in the independent prosecution conducted by her office.
On February 27, MP Jody Wilson-Raybould testified before the Justice Committee on the SNC-Lavin affair. During her testimony, Ms. Wilson-Raybould contended that she felt the Prime Minister and his senior staff, the Clerk of the Privy Council to “find a solution” to the SNC-Lavin file. While she acknowledged that the Prime Minister did not violate any laws, she did believe that there was improper political interference.
In response to the testimony of former AG and Minister of Justice, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrew Scheer, called for the Prime Minister to immediately resign, contending that he has “lost the moral authority to govern.” The leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, called for a national public inquiry of the handling of the SNC-Lavin case.
In response, Prime Minister Trudeau contends that he and his office acted within the law, maintained and respected the independence of judicial institutions, and are focused on protecting jobs for Canadians.
Bill C-83 - Amendment to the Correction and Conditional Release Act
The proposed amendments to the Correction and Conditional Release were debated as Bill C-83 was tabled for third reading. The Bill proposes amendments that would eliminate solitary confinement in correctional facilities and instead introduce Structured Intervention Units (SIU), to house inmates that are deemed to pose safety risks to themselves, other inmates, and correctional facility staff.
As per the Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, the proposed amendment makes correction facilities safer for inmates and employees and provide greater mental health supports to inmates to ensure successful rehabilitation and safer reintegration into Canadian society. In addition, the introduction of SIU would bring the practices of correctional facilities in line with judicial rulings that have ruled that solitary confinement violates the constitutional rights of inmates.
MP Todd Doherty (Cariboo - Prince George, BC - PC) and other Conservative MPs argued that Bill C-83 is another attempt for this government to be “soft on crime.” While he acknowledged that he agreed with some components of the bill (body scanners, for instance), he did not believe that adequate consultation was conducted with employees of the corrections institutions.
MP Randall Garrisson (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, BC - NDP) and members of the NDP caucus argued that Bill C-83 simply rebranded existing policies. In addition, he criticized the bill for not going far enough to address the constitutional issues with solitary confinement.