Published: Fri, March 01, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

Now it is Jody Wilson-Raybould's turn to speak

Now it is Jody Wilson-Raybould's turn to speak

Ex-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould has said she wants to tell "her truth" and she will speak at a hearing of the Parliament justice committee.

During her address, Wilson-Raybould said she believes she was shuffled out of her portfolio to Veterans Affairs in January because she resisted pressure from Trudeau and his senior staff to halt a criminal prosecution of the Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Wilson-Raybould wrote to Justice Committee chair Anthony Housefather on Monday requesting not to appear until as numerous "possible constraints" were removed.

"We took the unprecedented step as a government of waiving cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege so that the former attorney general could share her perspective on the Lavalin matter in a free manner because we know that people need to understand her perspective on this", Trudeau said on his way into a Liberal caucus meeting.

"This pressure, or political interference to intervene, was not appropriate", she said, adding that some officials had made veiled threats unless she cooperated.

The waiver does not, however, permit Wilson-Raybould to discuss conversations she may have had with the director of public prosecutions on SNC-Lavalin, a restriction that's meant to "uphold the integrity of any criminal or civil proceedings", the order states.

"Quite simply what we've seen unfold over the last two weeks is a textbook case of government corruption with those at the very top of the Prime Minister's Office implicated in what could very well be the obstruction of justice", Scheer said in a news conference before introducing the motion.

Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti said the order achieves dual objectives.

During question period, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer suggested something was said to Wilson-Raybould during that period "that proved she lost her job because she stood up to" Trudeau on SNC-Lavalin. She did not resign or directly raise her concerns with Trudeau after September 17, when she first informed him that she would not intervene in the SNC-Lavalin matter.

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Trudeau's government has been on the defensive since the Globe and Mail newspaper reported February 7 that Trudeau or his staff pressured Wilson-Raybould past year to try to avoid a criminal prosecution of Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin over allegations of corruption involving government contracts in Libya.

SNC-Lavalin was seeking a so-called deferred prosecution agreement to allow the firm to escape with a fine.

Trudeau's principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigned a week later, but insisted neither he nor anyone else in the PMO had unduly pressured Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould hasn't yet confirmed the time.

Trudeau has insisted he was always clear that the decision whether to prosecute was hers and hers alone.

The Conservative leader also called for Wernick to resign and encouraged the Liberal cabinet, which is scheduled to present a federal budget next month, to find a way to govern the country in a non-partisan way without the prime minister.

Some of her former cabinet colleagues seemed relieved Tuesday that whatever complaint Wilson-Raybould may have about the way the SNC-Lavalin matter was handled, it will finally be out in the open after weeks of shadow boxing with anonymous sources.

- A December 19 conversation Wernick had with Wilson-Raybould in which he told her Trudeau and other ministers were "quite anxious" about the potential impact of a criminal conviction on the financial viability of SNC-Lavalin and on innocent employees, shareholders, pensioners and third-party suppliers who would suffer as a result.

Trudeau, who has denied any wrongdoing, said Tuesday that he's looking forward to the former minister's testimony.

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