Elections commissioner says no political input into SNC-Lavalin deal

The watchdog who monitors Canada's elections says no one from the Prime Minister's Office tried to help SNC-Lavalin avoid being charged with breaking campaign-financing rules.

In a rare written statement, elections commissioner Yves Cote says no minister, political staffer or public servant has attempted to ``influence or interfere'' in any of his decisions ``that did not directly involve them as the subject of the investigation.''

Before Cote's statement became public, the Conservatives had again asked the Liberals in question period whether anyone from the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office leaned on Cote to let SNC-Lavalin sign what's known as a compliance agreement after being found in violation of financing rules.

The Quebec-based engineering firm signed the agreement in 2016, admitting that executives who had left the company by then had convinced employees to give money to both the Liberal and Conservative parties in the late 2000s.

Reimbursing the donors with company bonuses was a way around an election law that forbids corporations to make political donations.

The Liberals got nearly $118,000 under the scheme, compared with the Tories' $8,000.