OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to face a fresh round of questions on the SNC-Lavalin controversy today when he hands out some money to a technology firm.
Trudeau will be in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata to announce $40 million of federal money for BlackBerry, the one-time smartphone leader that is now working on software to enable self-driving cars.
BlackBerry says its QNX software is already in tens of millions of cars, guiding systems related to driver assistance, hands-free features and entertainment consoles.
A government official says the federal money, to come from the Strategic Innovation Fund, will go towards software development and skills training for workers.
The company is putting $300 million of its own money into the initiative, expected to create 800 jobs over the next decade at BlackBerry’s Kanata campus as well as support 300 existing jobs there.
But the federal announcement could well be overshadowed by ongoing fallout over allegations of undue political pressure on criminal justice.
Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from the federal cabinet this week, leaving unanswered questions about whether Trudeau’s aides leaned on her to help engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.
Trudeau has denied Wilson-Raybould was pressured to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin rather than pursue a criminal trial on charges of bribery and fraud linked to the company’s efforts to secure business in Libya.
He says Wilson-Raybould should have come to him with any concerns she might have had about the matter.
The Liberal-dominated House of Commons justice committee has agreed to hear from a handful of witnesses, but the list does not include Wilson-Raybould.
Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion has begun his own investigation into the matter, specifically whether there’s been a violation of the Conflict of Interest Act.
The Canadian Press