Is SNC-Lavalin affair a sign of deeper scandal?
As political watchers across the country await with bated breath testimony from former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, the latest public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute shows the SNC-Lavalin affair taking a toll on the fortunes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government.
While it remains unclear exactly how much – if any – pressure Trudeau and his staff put on Wilson-Raybould not to prosecute the Quebec-based engineering firm for fraud and corruption charges stemming from its business in Libya, most Canadians (66%) say they believe there is a deeper scandal in the Prime Minister’s Office. Moreover, a similar number (63%) say they believe SNC-Lavalin should be fully prosecuted under the criminal code, rather than allowed to negotiate a remediation agreement, as the PMO reportedly would have preferred.
These findings correspond with low marks for Trudeau himself. Fully six-in-ten Canadians (60%) say they have an unfavourable view of the Prime Minister, and a nearly identical 59% say their opinion of him has worsened over the last month or so. While this is driven largely by the negative views of right-of-centre voters, it’s notable that three-in-ten (28%) who would vote for Trudeau’s Liberal Party in an election held tomorrow also say their view of the PM has worsened.
Trudeau isn’t the only party leader viewed unfavourably by a majority of Canadians. Most also hold unfavourable opinions of Scheer (54% do) and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh (64%).
The poll suggests that political preference informs opinion on the SNC-Lavalin affair, with those who would vote for the Conservatives in an election held tomorrow overwhelmingly taking the view that there is a deeper scandal to uncover (95%), while 72% of Liberal supporters feel it has been overblown.
Trudeau stands out from the other major party leaders because of the number of Canadians whose opinion of him has worsened in recent weeks. Six-in-ten (59%) say this of Trudeau, while roughly half as many say this of Scheer (25%) or Singh (29%).
Download the full poll here: