A hero—to me— is someone who stands up for what they believe in, usually at a high personal cost.
You can't put a price on integrity.
Former Canadian Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould testified at the House of Commons this week about the political interference she faced over the decision to prosecute SNC-Lavalin on corruption charges.
In 2015, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) laid rare fraud and corruption charges against SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based engineering and construction giant. Some of the charges included: bribing Libyan officials; defrauding Libya; employee embezzling; and paying for prostitutes for the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Up until 2018, unlike other countries, Canada did not use "deferred prosecution" or "non-prosecution" agreements where companies facing bribery allegations can pay fines to avoid going to trial. The timing of introducing such legislation in the ominous budget bill of 2018, after immense federal lobbying by SNC-Lavalin, seems convenient at best.
If you—individual or corporation—break the law, then you face criminal charges. No brainer, right?
Alas, not in the case of SNC-Lavalin...
Wilson-Raybould made the decision to prosecute SNC-Lavalin. She then experienced 4 months of what can only be described as political interference—from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, and the Office of the Minister of Finance—in the form of in-person conversations, telephone calls, emails, and text messages. When she didn't reverse her decision, she was "shuffled" out of the role of Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada to Veteran Affairs. She later resigned from cabinet.
Unfortunately, for the Prime Minister's Office, Wilson-Raybould did not fade into the night quietly. She kept detailed notes and documentation on what had occurred. She employed a lawyer, a former Supreme Court justice, and told her truth, despite the political consequences that could occur.
A truth that puts Justin Trudeau's government in a very poor light. Knowledge of criminal acts. Intentional concealing of such acts with threats and retaliation. Putting political gain over adhering to the law. Justin Trudeau made clear, in conversation, that a Quebec provincial election was a concern, and also that he was "the member for Papineau" for the upcoming federal election.
A hero stands up what is right. Jody Wilson-Raybould is a hero.
Canadian Lawyer: RCMP lays corruption charges against SNC-Lavalin
The Globe and Mail: SNC’s fraud, corruption hearing set for 2018
National Post: SNC-Lavalin paid for Gadhafi son's debauchery while he was in Canada: report
CBC News: Key moments from Jody Wilson-Raybould's SNC-Lavalin testimony
National Post: These are the people Jody Wilson-Raybould named in her testimony on the SNC-Lavalin affair