Canada's Trudeau accepts he broke ethics rules

Video credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on August 14, 2019 - Duration: 01:44s

Canada's Trudeau accepts he broke ethics rules

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday accepted a scathing 58-page assessment from an independent ethics commissioner, who said Trudeau and his team attempted last year to undermine a decision by federal prosecutors that construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc should face a corruption trial.

Chris Dignam has more.


Canada's Trudeau accepts he broke ethics rules

(SOUND BITE) (English) CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU, SAYING: "What happened over the past year shouldn't have happened.

I take responsibility for it." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that he accepted a government watchdog's report saying he broke ethics rules by trying to interfere in a corporate criminal case - a scandal that has plagued his administration and could jeopardize his bid for reelection.

But Trudeau said he disagreed with some of the report's conclusions and stopped short of apologizing.

(SOUND BITE) (English) CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU, SAYING: "I can't apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs.

Because that's part of what Canadians expect me to do." Canada's independent ethics commissioner found that Trudeau's team pressured the country's former attorney general to halt the criminal prosecution of construction giant SNC-Lavalin, a major employer in the politically important Canadian province of Quebec.

Federal prosecutors said the engineering firm should face trial on corruption charges for bribery.

Trudeau said he was worried about potential job losses.

(SOUND BITE) (English) CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU, SAYING: "I recognize that this was a situation that shouldn't have happened.

But my desire to protect Canadians and at the same time to protect the integrity and the independence of our judicial institutions remained throughout.

But we recognize that the way this happened shouldn't have happened and I take responsibility for the mistakes that I made." The SNC-Lavalin scandal has marked a low point of Trudeau's almost four-year tenure and prompted resignations in his cabinet.

And Wednesday's report could be further damaging for Trudeau's chances of winning a second term in the October election.

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