Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer put a stop to supporters chanting “lock him up” about Justin Trudeau at one of the final major Conservative rallies of the campaign.
Scheer spoke to hundreds of supporters in Richmond Hill, Ont. on Saturday night. As part of his closing argument, the Conservative leader referenced his promise to call a judicial inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin affair if Tories form government.
The Tory leader said that the federal ethics commissioner had found Trudeau “guilty” of twice breaking ethics laws and that the prime minister “won’t let the RCMP investigate the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal.”
“And that’s why when we form government I will hold a judicial inquiry into his scandal to get to the bottom of what he’s done,” Scheer told the crowd.
The remarks set off a brief chant of “lock him up,” a take on a refrain Donald Trump supporters made famous in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
“Well… or, let’s… we’re going to get to the bottom of his scandal,” Scheer told the crowd. “We’re going to vote him out. Vote him out! Vote him out!”
The crowd appeared to take the Tory leader’s cue and obliged, briefly, in a “vote him out” chant.
Three years ago, Trump fans would scream “lock her up” after his references to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who faced an FBI probe into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
Just before the start of the campaign last month, The Globe and Mail reported the RCMP was looking into the SNC-Lavalin affair but had found preliminary examinations hindered by the federal government’s refusal to fully waive cabinet confidence.
In addition to the promised judicial inquiry, Scheer is also pledging to bring in a so-called “No More Cover Ups Act” that would permit the RCMP to ask the Supreme Court for access to information protected by cabinet confidence.
In August, the ethics commissioner found that Trudeau used his position of authority over his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to pressure her to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin with a deferred prosecution agreement.
In so doing, the ethics watchdog concluded, Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly trying to further the private interests of the Quebec-based engineering firm.
Wilson-Raybould, who was removed from Liberal caucus weeks after she told the House justice committee she was improperly pressured over the matter by Trudeau and his key staffers, is now running for re-election as an Independent.
Trudeau was also found to have broken conflict rules by taking a free family vacation in 2016 on the private Bahamian island owned by the Aga Khan, and using a private helicopter to access the destination.
Scheer also had “lock him up” shouted at him during a campaign event at a hockey rink in Ancaster, Ont. on Wednesday, according to The Canadian Press. The Tory leader revealed at the time that he would seek to bring in penalties of up to $20,000 for politicians who have violated the Conflict of Interest Act.
On Friday, the Tory leader also sparked headlines by inferring Liberals could seek to illegally destroy records related to the SNC-Lavalin affair if the government isn’t re-elected. He publicly asked the clerk of the Privy Council, the government’s top civil servant, to keep a list of any requests he gets to delete records.