Politics

PM says McLellan report on AG role won't be released until SNC ethics probe released

The report looking into whether Canada needs to rethink the dual role of justice minister and attorney general in the federal cabinet will be made public when the ethics commissioner releases his report into the SNC-Lavalin report, says the prime minister. 

Unclear when ethics commissioner's report will be released

Anne McLellan, former deputy prime minister, justice minister and attorney general, was tasked with examining the relationship between the Prime Minister's Office and the dual role of justice minister and attorney general. Her report was released Wednesday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The Liberal-ordered report looking into whether Canada needs to rethink the dual role of justice minister and attorney general in the federal cabinet will be made public when the ethics watchdog releases his own report into the SNC-Lavalin affair, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Earlier this year, he asked former Liberal cabinet minister and deputy prime minister Anne McLellan to look into whether the cabinet roles of justice minister and attorney general — which are occupied by the same person in Canada — should be reformed in the wake of allegations of political interference.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former justice minister and attorney general of Canada, said she felt she was improperly pressured by 11 officials in the Prime Minister's Office to allow engineering company SNC-Lavalin of Quebec avoid bribery and corruption charges providing it met a number of conditions in a potential remediation agreement.

"We recognize how important it is to look at the various roles between the minister of justice and the attorney general," said Trudeau, during a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday. "That's why we were very pleased to have a great report written by Anne McLellan. We have provided that report to the ethics commissioner to allow the ethics commissioner to finish his own investigation."

"We will be releasing the report at the same time as the ethics commissioner makes his report public."

His comments follow a release from the Conservatives calling for the report to be made public.

"McLellan's report was due by the end of June and even though she wasn't mandated to report on the culture of corruption endemic to the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau has still not released her recommendations," wrote deputy leader Lisa Raitt, in a statement.  

"Canada's Conservatives will hold him to account on behalf of Canadians in the weeks ahead." 

It's not clear when Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion's report will be made public. He has been investigating claims that the Prime Minister's Office tried to influence Wilson-Raybould on the SNC-Lavalin file.

"Accordingly, we cannot provide you with any information other than what has been made public," said an ethics commissioner spokesperson, Jocelyne Brisebois, in an email to CBC News on Tuesday.

'Working hard'

"We conduct our investigations thoroughly and with a high degree of diligence, and make public our reports as quickly as possible."

Dion is investigating whether Trudeau contravened Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act. That section prohibits any official responsible for high level decision-making in government from seeking to influence the decision of another person to "improperly further another person's private interests."

In May, Dion told a parliamentary committee that his office is "working hard to produce a report within the coming months."

In March, he temporarily stepped aside from his duties for health reasons, but has since returned to the job.

Before her appointment as special adviser, McLellan, who held the post of justice minister and attorney general from 1997 to 2002 under then-prime minister Jean Chrétien, had previously voiced that she backs the idea of looking at splitting the current role. She also argued that when she served in the post, its dual nature made for better policy.

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