POLITICS
08/16/2019 12:40 EDT | Updated 08/16/2019 17:09 EDT

Trudeau, Scheer Had Awkward Exchange Celebrating National Acadian Day In New Brunswick

Both leaders were celebrating in Dieppe, N.B., a day after the ethics watchdog's report.

Marc Grandmaison/CP
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau points to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in Dieppe, N.B., on Aug. 15, 2019.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had an unusual exchange on the noisy streets of Dieppe, N.B. Thursday that is now being promoted in a 12-second clip from Conservatives.

Scheer and Trudeau were both there to celebrate National Acadian Day and the World Acadian Congress. Both took part in the “Grand Tintamarre,” a tradition that sees revellers take to the streets to make a ruckus with noisemakers.

While it’s not uncommon for federal leaders to see each other at the same event, this one took place one day after federal ethics commissioner, Mario Dion, found Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act in the SNC-Lavalin affair. Scheer responded to the report by reiterating calls for the RCMP to investigate the matter.

‘This is a good day today’: Trudeau

The watchdog ruled Trudeau improperly used the power of his office to pressure his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to try to halt the criminal prosecution of the Quebec-based engineering firm with a remediation agreement.

In a clip posted online by the Conservative Party Friday, Trudeau is shown greeting Scheer in the crowd, calling him “Andrew.” The Tory leader can be heard quietly replying, “you have to stop lying to Canadians.”

“Oh, this is a good day today,” Trudeau replies, smiling and flapping a noisemaker. It is unclear whether the prime minister heard what Scheer said to him. 

Tories and New Democrats are calling on the House of Commons ethics committee to launch an investigation of Trudeau’s conduct in light of the bombshell report. The prime minister says he accepts the report, but disagrees with its findings. 

At a press conference in Moncton Friday, Scheer urged Canadians to contact the six Liberal MPs on the ethics committee and push them to vote in favour of a probe.

“We still see evidence to this day that Justin Trudeau is going to great lengths to cover up the full truth from coming out,″ Scheer charged.

Watch: Scheer calls on RCMP to investigate after ethics commissioner ruling on SNC-Lavalin affair

 

Dion’s report noted that nine witnesses said they had information they believed to be relevant to the investigation, but such details couldn’t be disclosed for fear of breaching cabinet confidences. 

The watchdog also said the Privy Council Office refused his officer’s request to access all cabinet confidences as part of the probe, denying a full picture of the events in question.

Marc Grandmaison/CP
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer while walking with the crowd during the Tintamarre in celebration of the National Acadian Day in Dieppe, N.B., on Aug. 15, 2019.

Trudeau, who has long denied he or his staff pressured Wilson-Raybould inappropriately and maintained his goal was to protect potential job losses at SNC-Lavalin, has said he won’t apologize for the controversy.

“I’m not going to apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs, because that’s my job — to make sure Canadians and communities and pensioners and families across the country are supported, and that’s what I will always do,” he said Thursday.

With a file from The Canadian Press, Althia Raj