Apr 08, 2019
By Jane Brown
Andrew Scheer is urging the Prime Minister to follow through on a threat to take him to court over the SNC Lavalin scandal.
“I stand by every single criticism I have made of Mr. Trudeau’s conduct in regards to this scandal, including those Mr. Trudeau’s lawyer sites in his letter,” Scheer explained to a Sunday afternoon news conference.
The Federal Conservative leader went on to say, if Justin Trudeau wants to sue him then “bring it on”.
Scheer says he received a letter on March 31st from Trudeau’s lawyer Julian Porter threatening legal action for libel.
Porter says Scheer’s accusation that Trudeau led a campaign of political interference on the criminal prosecution of the Montreal-based construction giant is “highly defamatory.”
Scheer says the lawsuit threat is just “a bullying attempt” to prevent him from holding the government to account over what he calls “an urgent matter of public interest.”
“He has refused to call a public inquiry. He has shut down two parliamentary committee investigations into the scandal. He has changed his version of events, shifted blame onto others, and has been caught peddling phony excuses,” Scheer elaborated.
In response to Scheer’s dare, a statement has been released by Prime Minister Trudeau’s press secretary.
Eleanore Catenaro says Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives have been put on notice that there are consequences for making completely false and libellous statements.
She goes on to say, “the Conservatives are avoiding other important economic and environmental issues, such as housing and climate change by maintaining their focus on the SNC Lavalin issue.”
It’s uncommon, but not unprecedented, for a sitting prime minister to threaten legal action against another member of Parliament, especially the leader of the Opposition.
A decade ago Stephen Harper launched a $3.5-million libel lawsuit against the Liberal party after it posted website headlines alleging two senior Conservatives attempted to bribe independent MP Chuck Cadman to secure his co-operation on a crucial budget vote that threatened to topple the Liberal minority government in May 2005. The headlines claimed Harper also knew about the alleged bribe. That lawsuit was dropped.
In 1998, Jean Chretien threatened to sue Reform Party Leader Preston Manning if he repeated allegations that the prime minister had sold a Senate seat to a longtime friend. He dropped that threat a year later.