The Royal Canadian Mounted Police intends to charge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his principal secretary Gerald Butts, and former Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick with obstruction of justice related to their involvement in the SNC Lavalin affair, and subsequent efforts to conceal it from the public, a source inside the agency tells The Chronicle.
They intend to lay those charges “precisely two weeks” after the federal election on October 21. Any later would appear as though the victor of the election was influencing the action, and any sooner would suggest that the agency had an obligation to disclose how progressed its investigation had become prior to the election, the source posits.
It’s unclear if former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iaccobucci, a central figure in the scheme, will be among those arrested.
When the RCMP suspended its ongoing investigation early last month, they announced that it would resume following the federal election — but offered no other details that might have given voters a more informed political discourse, or an indication of how far the investigation has progressed.
That decision was made months ago, in order to avoid actively surveilling the Prime Minister and his senior staff during the official election period. Some senior administrators are concerned about allegations of ‘spying’ on a campaign — a situation still playing out in the United States in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election.
As such, those who have been cooperating with the investigation were instructed to stop recording conversations outside of the PMO between September 11 and October 21, in an effort to avoid capturing anything campaign-related.
The Chronicle is told that the RCMP has discovered that PMO staffers regularly use public resources — including phones, computers, and public time — to engage in campaign-related activities and to perform political tasks.
“Others involved in the conspiracy may be among those charged, like PMO staffers Mathieu Bouchard and Ben Chin, or Ministers Bill Morneau and Scott Brison,” he explains. “It depends entirely on how cooperative they’re going to be with their witness statements over the next two weeks.”