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'I take responsibility' for an ethics breach, says Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

Ethics commissioner Mario Dion says Trudeau inappropriately tried to influence Jody Wilson-Raybould

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he accepts and takes full responsibility after Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion found he violated the Conflict of Interest Act by trying to influence then-justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to overrule a decision to not grant a deferred prosecution agreement to Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

In his report released Wednesday, Dion wrote, "The evidence showed there were many ways in which Mr. Trudeau, either directly or through the actions of those under his direction, sought to influence the Attorney General."

"The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson‑Raybould. The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson‑Raybould as the Crown's chief law officer," Dion said.


Dion found Trudeau contravened Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act through a series of "flagrant attempts to influence" Wilson‑Raybould to reach an agreement with SNC-Lavalin to avoid criminal prosecution. That section of the code prohibits any official responsible for high level decision-making in government from seeking to influence the decision of another person to "improperly further another person's private interests."

Speaking to reporters in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Trudeau said, while he disagrees with some of Dion's findings, he accepts the report and takes full responsibility for all that transpired.

"We recognize the way that this happened shouldn't have happened. I take responsibility for the mistakes that I made," Trudeau said.

"Where I disagree with the commissioner is where he says that any contact with the attorney general on this issue was improper," he said, referencing one of Dion's conclusions that Trudeau should not have put forward any arguments for or against a DPA to the attorney general.


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