ontario news watch

Justice minister takes new oath after wording prompted by SNC-Lavalin affair left out

OTTAWA — The new federal justice minister and attorney general is slated to swear a fresh oath today because the one he recited last week left out wording ushered in following the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Toronto Liberal MP Arif Virani took over the key portfolio from David Lametti in the recent federal cabinet shuffle.

A political storm hit the federal Liberals in early 2019 amid allegations prime ministerial aides leaned on Jody Wilson-Raybould, attorney general at the time, to ensure there was a deal to avoid the prosecution of engineering firm SNC-Lavalin on corruption and fraud charges.

A report later recommended against separating the minister of justice and attorney general roles, but suggested a series of changes, including revising the oath to better distinguish the difference between the two.

Lametti adopted new language emphasizing the independence of the attorney general position following the 2019 federal election, saying it was designed to better clarify the roles.

But the language was not in the oath sworn by Virani — an absence the Privy Council Office calls an “administrative error” that will be remedied in a new virtual oath swearing today.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 1, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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