Justin Trudeau popularity PLUNGES: Latest polls shows SNC-Lavalin scandal hitting PM

Saturday, March 2, 2019
By Paul Martin

JUSTIN Trudeau’s hopes of being re-elected later this year are hanging by a thread after a majority of Canadians now say their opinion of the Prime Minister has “worsened” because of the deepening SNC-Lavalin scandal.

Sat, Mar 2, 2019

Mr Trudeau is continuing to take a pounding in the polls after becoming embroiled in the affair which centres on claims of misconduct among high-ranking aides. The latest figures spell electoral disaster for Mr Trudeau, if his premiership manages to survive until October’s general election at all. A new poll of voters, conducted for the Toronto Star, showed 57 percent of Canadians have had their view of Mr Trudeau tainted by the crisis while 59 percent added the affair will impact who they will vote for in the federal election.

The sample of voters’ opinions comes in the wake of former justice secretary and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s bombshell testimony before the House of Commons justice committee.

The woman at the centre of the furore alleged officials in the Prime Minister’s Office launched a “consistent and sustained effort” over four months to pressure her into dropping a criminal trial against Montreal-based construction giant SNC-Lavalin.

Ms Wilson-Raybould refused and said “many people” in the top levels of Mr Trudeau’s administration made an “inappropriate effort” to persuade her to change her mind and reach a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the firm, which is one of Canada’s biggest companies.

The out-of-court settlement means SNC-Lavalin, which employs 52,000 people and had total revenues of £5.6 billion last year, would have avoided a criminal conviction barring them from bidding for lucrative government contracts for 10 years.

Officials in Mr Trudeau’s government became concerned such a conviction risked a hammering in key Quebec seats because it would have forced SNC-Lavalin into cutting thousands of jobs in the area and potentially relocating their headquarters out of the country.

The poll, conducted for the Toronto Star by Forum Research, asked 1,301 random Canadian adults via a telephone survey on the day and day after Ms Wilson-Raybould’s testimony.

Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said the findings were significant because it more than half of Canadians answered they could “confidently” explain the situation facing Mr Trudeau, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Bozinoff told the newspaper: “Everyone is showing a pretty good level of awareness… that we can say without a doubt.”

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