Connect with us


‘Pay heed’ to words of top bureacrat on SNC-Lavalin affair, Trudeau says





Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians should “pay heed” to the country’s top civil servant, who testified Thursday there was no inappropriate pressure put on Jody Wilson-Raybould to override a decision to prosecute SNC-Lavalin.

Taking questions from reporters after an event in St. John’s today, Trudeau called Privy Council Office clerk Michael Wernick an “extraordinary public servant” who has served Canada with “integrity and brilliance.”

Wernick told the justice committee probing the SNC-Lavalin affair that he warned Wilson-Raybould, justice minister at the time, there would be economic “consequences” to prosecuting SNC-Lavalin, including big job losses. But he maintained there was never any undue pressure from himself, Trudeau or officials with the Prime Minister’s Office.

Asked why Wernick and PMO officials kept pressing Wilson-Raybould on what was at stake after the decision had been made to proceed with prosecution, Trudeau said the government has a fundamental responsibility to preserve jobs and promote economic growth while respecting the rule of law and an independent judiciary.

“That is something this government has always done,” he said. “I would recommend that people pay close heed to the words of the clerk of the Privy Council. His service to this country over decades in the public service leaves him well-positioned to understand what institutions are grounded in, and make sure that we’re doing the right things as a government.”

The Public Prosecution Service advised SNC-Lavalin on Sept. 4, 2018, it would negotiate with the company on a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, which would have applied alternative penalties in order to avoid criminal proceedings against the Quebec-based global engineering firm for bribery and fraud charges related to contracts in Libya.

Wernick said he called the then justice minister and attorney general on Dec. 19, 2018, to discuss various issues — including the option of a remediation agreement.

During that call, Wernick said he spoke of the implications of prosecuting the company for employees, suppliers and communities. He said he told Wilson-Raybould that the prime minister and “a lot of her colleagues” were anxious about what they were hearing and reading in business media — articles warning that the company could close down or move if criminal proceedings went ahead.

Pressured to ‘get it right’

“I am quite sure the minister felt pressured to get it right, and part of my conversation with her on Dec. 19 was conveying context that there were a lot of people worried about what would happen … the consequences not for her, the consequences for the workers, and the communities and the suppliers,” he told MPs on Thursday.

Wernick said he did not cross any line in his exchanges with Wilson-Raybould, insisting the conversations were “lawful and appropriate.”

The justice committee is examining the growing controversy touched off by a Feb. 7 Globe and Mail report that Trudeau’s aides attempted to press Wilson-Raybould, while attorney general, to intervene in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, and that exasperation with her lack of co-operation was one reason for shuffling her out of the Justice portfolio.

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould is expected to testify at the Commons justice committee next week. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Wilson-Raybould has remained silent on the issue, citing solicitor-client privilege. This week, she told the House of Commons that privilege is not hers to waive, and she hopes she is able to speak her “truth.”

Opposition Conservatives and NDP have been demanding the prime minister waive privilege so Wilson-Raybould can speak freely when she appears before the committee, expected next week.

Wernick said Thursday he doesn’t believe she is bound by solicitor-client privilege, but Trudeau repeated again, on Friday, that there are serious implications at play.

“This is something we do have to take very seriously because it’s a fundamental part of our justice system and indeed in this case there are two ongoing court cases,” he said.

Wilson-Raybould’s successor, Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti, is reviewing the matter, but has offered no timeline of when he could provide advice to the prime minister on privilege.


Source link

قالب وردپرس


Students call on University of Ottawa to implement pass/fail grading amid pandemic





OTTAWA — The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) is calling on the university to introduce optional, one-course-only pass/fail grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The students’ union said nearly 5,000 uOttawa students have signed its petition supporting the grading system.

In a letter to the university, the UOSU said it is asking the school to make changes to the grading structure, including allowing one course per semester to be converted to the “pass” or “satisfactory” designation.

The UOSU also made recommendations regarding a reduction of workload and course delivery.

“The adaptation to online learning during the pandemic for students has created unique challenges and disruptions that could not have been anticipated,” wrote Tim Gulliver, the UOSU’s Advocacy Commissioner. 

“The use of flexible compassionate grading options has been introduced in other universities, such as Carleton University which includes a use of Pass/Fail which we feel could be implemented at the University of Ottawa.”

Carleton University approved the use of flexible and compassionate grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms in early November.

The UOSU also called for all grades that constitute a fail to appear as “Not Satisfactory” on their transcript, which would not be included in grade point average calculations. 

The union represents more than 38,000 undergraduate students at the University of Ottawa.

In a response to CTV News, the University of Ottawa said it is aware of the petition.

“Last spring a decision was made by the (University) Senate to allow the Satisfactory/Non Satisfactory mark to be used, given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, which hit us close to the end of the Winter 2020 semester. The University is aware of the petition and is looking into the matter.”

Continue Reading


OPP warn of phone scams in Ottawa Valley





Upper Ottawa Valley OPP warn residents of a phone scam that’s been making its way through the region recently. 

Police say a scammer pretends to be from a local business and tells the person their credit card didn’t work on a recent purchase before asking the person on the phone to confirm their credit card number. 

The victim may not have even used the card at the store, but police said the scammer creates a sense of urgency. 

Police remind residents to verify the legitimacy of any caller before providing any personal information over the phone. 

Similar scams have been reported recently in the region, according to police, with scammers posing as police officers, Revenue Canada or other government agencies demanding payment for a variety of reasons. A Social Insurance Number scam has also been reported recently, where a victim is asked for their SIN number under threat of being arrested. 
If a scam artist contacts you or if you have been defrauded, you’re asked to contact police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at

Continue Reading


The human history of Ottawa Valley is thousands of years old. Archeologists may have found a piece of it on Parliament Hill





OTTAWA—Archeologists working on Parliament Hill have discovered a relic of Indigenous life that one Algonquin leader sees as a symbol of his people’s long history in what is now the heart of Canadian political power.

The jagged stone point was unearthed last year on the east side of Centre Block, but its discovery was not publicized as officials worked with Algonquin communities to authenticate the object, the Star has learned.

Stephen Jarrett, the lead archeologist for the ongoing renovation of Parliament’s Centre Block, said this week that while such an object is “not an uncommon find,” the stone point joins just a small handful of Indigenous artifacts ever discovered on Parliament Hill.

“It’s about the size of my palm, and it could be used as a knife or a projectile,” Jarrett said this week in response to inquiries from the Star.

He said the point is made of chert, a type of sedimentary stone most often used for implements of this type. And while the point was unearthed in what Jarrett calls “disturbed soil” — earth that has been dug up and moved, most likely during construction of Parliament — the soil it was in “is natural to the site.”

That means “it came from a source nearby, but finding exactly where it came from is impossible,” Jarrett said.

For Douglas Odjick, a band council member responsible for education and culture with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, this artifact of “an original world” is a testament to the longevity of his Algonquin nation in an area they still claim as unceded and unsurrendered territory. Based on the assessment of Ian Badgley, the top archeologist with the National Capital Commission, Odjick said the stone point is likely 4,000 years old and dates to a time when the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau Rivers — along with all their tributaries that stretch out into the surrounding area — served as a great hub of regional trade activity.

“It symbolizes who we are and how long we’ve been here,” Odjick said, comparing the area to an ancient version of a busy hub like New York’s busy Grand Central Station.

Continue Reading