What could be next? Five questions in the SNC-Lavalin saga

Will police lay charges? Will report resonate with voters? Will Jody Wilson-Raybould get re-elected?

As the fallout continues in the wake of Wednesday’s damning ethics report on the SNC-Lavalin affair, there are still a number of twists and turns in the road ahead for what has turned out to be an enduring political saga.

Here are five:

Will the RCMP lay charges, and if so, when?

A spokesperson for the Mounties said Wednesday they are “examining this matter carefully with all available information and will take appropriate actions as required.” Hardly compelling stuff, but it raised eyebrows among those more accustomed to the standard “no comment” when it comes to matters not yet under investigation — and leaves open the possibility of criminal charges on the eve of a federal election campaign (although the standards for an ethical breach are far different from those for criminal conduct). Timing will be everything. The RCMP faced criticism in the wake of the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy, who was acquitted on all 31 charges after a courtroom spectacle that did nothing to help the doomed re-election bid of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Will that scar tissue — or the lingering memory of the botched prosecution of Vice-Adm. Mark Norman — give the authorities pause?

RELATED: Trudeau repeats non-apology for ‘standing up for jobs’ in SNC-Lavalin case

How will the ethics commissioner’s report play with voters?

The Liberals took a hit in public opinion polls when the SNC-Lavalin controversy first rocked the national capital earlier this year. Recent polls suggested they were recouping some of those losses. Will Wednesday’s fresh wound hurt the Liberals come election day? It’s too early to say. Reaction on social media and in comment sections would suggest those already upset with the Trudeau Liberals and deeply partisan Conservatives, NDP and Green supporters have made up their minds already. Liberal partisans, meanwhile, say they are pleased with the prime minister’s recent show of defiance, refusing to apologize for what he characterizes as trying to protect Canadian jobs. That leaves the undecideds — and among those who believe this election is about trust, the Liberals are likely to take a hit. But local races do matter, and strong local MPs could help ease the sting.

What’s the long game for Jody Wilson-Raybould?

The former attorney general-turned-independent MP at the heart of the saga has expressed vindication from Dion’s report, and dismay at the evidence therein that Trudeau’s lawyer tried to “discredit” her through submissions made to the ethics commissioner. But the savvy political operative within her is not going to leave it at that. As an independent in a race against well-funded, established candidates, she will need to leverage as much political capital as possible to regain her seat in the House of Commons. Just how she might use this report to do that remains a mystery — for now. One thing is certain: she’s not going away. Her forthcoming book is to be released just in time for the election.

What will opposition parties do to capitalize?

Both the Conservatives and NDP have already launched their first move, calling for the Commons ethics committee to be “urgently convened” in order to call Dion to testify. They point to the fact former ethics commissioner Mary Dawson testified after finding in 2017 that Trudeau broke ethics rules when he took his family on vacation in 2016 to the private Bahamian island owned by the Aga Khan. The meeting will likely happen, but the Liberal majority on the committee will determine the outcome — even successfully blocking testimony will be fodder for their opposition rivals.

ALSO READ: Scheer assails Trudeau after ethics report, urges police to probe SNC-Lavalin case

Do voters care about SNC-Lavalin anymore?

As the Bard once said: that is the question. In the wake of the marathon hearings and relentless media coverage earlier this year, there was a palpable sense of fatigue when it finally started to die down. Many voters have likely already formed an opinion about how they feel Trudeau, Wilson-Raybould and others behaved on the file and the ethics commissioner’s ruling may not change those views. However, given the uncertainty about how many of the issues raised above could play out on the campaign trail, political watchers and voters alike would be wise not to close the book on SNC-Lavalin yet.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Jennifer Rice BC NDP North Coast Incumbent was re-elected for a third according to the preliminary results on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Tyrell Giroux was arrested by Williams Lake RCMP on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Facebook video screenshot)
Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of officers seen in controversial Williams Lake arrest

Disturbing video demands an immediate, independent investigation, says TNG

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Most Read