Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Recently, the OECD announced that it was subjecting Canada to a special review in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin allegations because Canada may be in breach of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery said that the decision to prosecute SNC-Lavalin or not should be an autonomous decision of the prosecutor and should not be influenced by anybody. “This is the point of our concern,” he told the Toronto Star in a telephone interview. He also said that the excuse used by Prime Minister Trudeau for his interventions, that he was concerned about jobs at SNC-Lavalin, was not a legitimate justification.
Senator Harder, did the Prime Minister or other members of his team receive any briefings on the impact of this treaty on their decision to pressure the former Attorney General on granting SNC-Lavalin a DPA?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question. It is similar to questions that have been asked over the last eight or nine weeks with regard to this matter.
The honourable senator will know from questions answered here and in the other place that the government is strongly of the view that no such breach of OECD guidelines has taken place, but, of course, it is the prerogative of the OECD to conduct whatever investigation it wishes to do.
Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Honourable senators, my question is also for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Last week, I asked you if you could confirm whether one or more lawyers from the law firm Torys LLP, out of Toronto, where a Liberal Party fundraiser was held in 2016, played a key role in SNC-Lavalin’s defence team during the scandal that the company is embroiled in.
Senator Harder, what have you found out about that? Could you also confirm whether Grant Worden from that firm is indeed one of the Liberal donors who participated in that fundraising campaign?
Senator Harder: As the honourable senator’s question indicates, this was a question that was recently posed to me. I undertook to make inquiries and they are under way.
Senator Boisvenu: If you continue to look into this, could you also let me know whether he is indeed the same lawyer and Liberal Party donor who was part of SNC-Lavalin’s legal team before the Federal Court?
Senator Harder: I will add that to my inquiries.