Hon. Linda Frum: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
I would like to follow up on my colleague’s question about the meeting on September 17 between the Prime Minister and Attorney General regarding SNC-Lavalin. As it happens, the day after that meeting, lobbyists for SNC-Lavalin met with several people in Ottawa, including Minister Morneau, Minister Carr, the Clerk of the Privy Council and the Deputy Minister of Finance, to discuss, among other things, justice and law enforcement. The week after, the SNC-Lavalin lobbyists met with Minister Champagne and again with the Deputy Minister of Finance.
Senator Harder, is there a connection between the Prime Minister’s meeting on September 17 and the flurry of lobbying activities by SNC-Lavalin in the days after?
Senator Harder: I thank the honourable Senator for her question. Let me remind the chamber that SNC-Lavalin was quite appropriately engaged with stakeholders throughout this period.
Yesterday I was asked whether I met with the representatives of SNC-Lavalin, and I acknowledged that I did. It’s entirely appropriate. It’s in the Registry of Lobbyists. I also understand that meetings were held with your leader, Mr. Scheer, and your leader in this chamber and others. That’s entirely appropriate, and it doesn’t surprise me that those engagements continue beyond and, indeed, more recently.
Senator Frum: Senator Harder, why do you think SNC-Lavalin’s lobbyists met with the Minister of Finance and his deputy minister to discuss justice and law enforcement issues? Does this fall under their jurisdiction?
Senator Harder: The senator will know that the interests of the economy and of the well-being of Canadian enterprise is entirely in the foreground of the Minister of Finance’s mind, and it would not be inappropriate for the minister to be apprised of concerns that a major company in Canada would have in respect of their corporate well-being. Why it would be inappropriate in the mind of the honourable senator is beyond my comprehension.