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Justin Trudeau has decided not to release a report by former Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan on the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Instead, the prime minister will wait until the federal ethics commissioner, Mario Dion, releases his report, expected in early September.
New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh called Trudeau’s decision a "cynical" and “troubling” move, in comments at an event in Vancouver on Aug. 13.
Singh told National Observer that Trudeau may be hoping to minimize the negative impact from Dion's report by releasing McLellan's at the same time. He also questioned the independence of the report, given that Trudeau's government commissioned McLellan.
"The ethics commissioner is independent, and that report might be very scathing, and the timing to blunt the scathing report with one that's paid for by the government is troubling," he said.
National Observer requested comment from the Prime Minister's Office but a spokesperson said they had nothing to add.
Earlier on Tuesday, Trudeau revealed that the government had handed the report over to Dion. "We have provided that report to the ethics commissioner to allow the ethics commissioner to finish his own investigation," he said when asked about the report at an event in Toronto.
"We will be releasing the report at the same time as the ethics commissioner makes his report public."
The prime minister appointed McLellan in March to look into the SNC-Lavalin affair, and whether the roles of minister of justice and attorney general should be separated.
This issue became central after former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould said she was inappropriately pressured by the PMO to push a deferred prosecution for SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal engineering company facing charges of fraud.
Wilson-Raybould said pressure from the PMO she received as justice minister interfered with her position as attorney general.
Trudeau's withholding of McLellan's SNC-Lavalin report 'cynical' and 'troubling,' says Jagmeet Singh.
In a phone call with former clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, Wilson-Raybould called pressure from the PMO "political interference" that could breach "prosecutorial independence."
Singh said the scandal shows the Liberals' priority is "covering themselves, and their wealthy and powerful and connected friends."
In a statement Tuesday, the Conservative Party's deputy leader Lisa Raitt said Trudeau is trying to "distract Canadians" by looking into the roles of Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
"What Justin Trudeau doesn’t understand is that the problem isn’t with the rules, the problem is when you have people who are trying to break the rules," she said.