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Feb 26, 2019

63% of Canadians say SNC should be fully prosecuted, poll finds

Trudeau opens door for Wilson-Raybould to tell her side


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A new Angus Reid Institute poll reveals 63 per cent of Canadians believe SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. should be fully prosecuted on corruption charges related to its business in Libya.

The findings, released Tuesday, come as the country waits to hear Jody Wilson-Raybould’s side of the story regarding accusations that the Prime Minister’s Office pressured the former attorney general not to pursue a criminal prosecution of the Quebec engineering giant and allow the firm to negotiate a remediation agreement instead. SNC was charged in 2015 for allegedly bribing Libyan officials to win contracts there.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denied the accusations that he – or anyone else – pressured Wilson-Raybould to help SNC, but has acknowledged his government discussed the issue in part to avoid job losses at the company, which employs about 9,000 people in Canada.  

Trudeau on Monday cleared Wilson-Raybould to tell some of her account by partially waiving solicitor-client privilege, which has prevented her from speaking on the matter publicly.

The survey shows a correlation between political preference and opinion on the SNC saga. Almost all respondents who said they would vote Conservative in an election held tomorrow stated that they think there is more to the scandal (95 per cent), while the majority of Liberal supporters feel it has been overblown (72 per cent).  

The accusations against the PMO have led to the resignation of Trudeau’s top aide, Gerald Butts, who stepped down as the prime minister’s principal secretary last week, and has impacted Canadians’ view of the prime minister. The majority of respondents to the poll (59 per cent) said their opinion of Trudeau has worsened over the last month.  

SNC was the top percentage gainer Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, rising 6.3 per cent in its strongest rally in almost a month since the Globe and Mail first reported Wilson-Raybould had been pressured into helping SNC. At least one analyst has said the stock’s recent plunge was “overdone.”

The survey was conducted online between Feb. 21 and 24 among 1,009 Canadian adults.