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The RCMP's chat with Jody Wilson-Raybould stirs echoes of painful Liberal past

That the RCMP spoke with Jody Wilson-Raybould is not evidence of a crime — Wilson-Raybould herself has said that she does not believe a crime occurred during the SNC-Lavalin affair. It is not even necessarily evidence of an active or official investigation. In fact, there is reason to believe an investigation was not pursued.But the news on Friday that the former minister of justice and attorney general spoke with someone from the national police force in the spring punctuates another difficult moment for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government. And it stirs echoes of the events, nearly 14 years ago, that doomed the last Liberal government.The fact that Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion proceeded with, and completed, his investigation would seem to suggest that the RCMP has not been actively pursuing the matter. The Conflict of Interest Act dictates that the commissioner "shall immediately suspend an examination" if it is discovered that the subject of his investigation is also the subject of a police investigation.In 2014, for instance, the ethics commissioner suspended an investigation into the Mike Duffy affair once it became clear that the RCMP was investigating the same people and events.Dion is also obligated to suspend his investigation and notify the relevant authorities if he has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed.In regard to the SNC-Lavalin affair, it is unknown whether the RCMP spoke to anyone other than Wilson-Raybould. According to a spokesman for the prime minister, no one from the Prime Minister's Office has spoken with the RCMP. It is possible, at least in theory, that Dion's report on Wednesday added some new piece of information that could tweak the RCMP's interest — a spokeswoman for the police force said this week that the RCMP is "examining this matter carefully."But it's also possible that the RCMP, for the sake of doing their due diligence, spoke with Wilson-Raybould and soon thereafter decided that no further action was warranted.The suggestion of wrongdoingBut the unresolved hint of an official investigation can be a politically dangerous thing.In the fall of 2005, suspicious stock market activity raised concerns that details of the federal government's decision to not tax income trusts had been leaked and exploited. A ...Read more

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