Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

LILLEY: Will Wilson-Raybould be allowed to speak 'my truth?'

Centre Block Parliament Hill Trudeau says an ‘airing’ needed on SNC-Lavalin affair, dodges questions on calls for public inquiry
Cary Marshall | 23 February, 2019, 04:56

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould nearly two weeks after federal prosecutors informed SNC-Lavalin it would not be invited to negotiate a settlement to help the company avoid criminal prosecution.

Wilson-Raybould, who remains the Liberal MP for Vancouver-Granville and attended Wednesday's caucus meeting, told reporters she knows it is frustrating for many people that she has not commented further on her cabinet resignation.

"Privilege and confidentiality are not mine to waive and I hope that I have the opportunity to speak my truth", Wilson-Raybould said.Moments after those comments, Justin Trudeau stood to lead the Liberals in shutting down the possibility of a public inquiry into this matter.

Trudeau has rejected the allegations in the Globe's report but the accusations have cost him his principal secretary and close friend, Gerald Butts, who resigned Monday despite denying he pressured Wilson-Raybould.

Last week, Wilson-Raybould quit cabinet. For her part, Wilson-Raybould continued to say nothing about the furor around her.

The motion, which also implored the prime minister to waive solicitor-client privilege to allow Wilson-Raybould to speak, was defeated by the Liberals with a vote of 134 in favour and 160 against. I understand fully that Canadians want to know the truth and want transparency.

It was two weeks later that Trudeau himself met with Wilson-Raybould to discuss the SNC-Lavalin file.

More news: Have You Seen Any "Zombie Deer" in Maine

Yet, whatever Trudeau heard, it can't have been too bad or he would not have sanctioned the witness invitation to the justice committee.

"The coverup continues", said Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus after the closed-door committee meeting.

On Tuesday, she walked out of the cabinet room and took her place in the seat still assigned to the veterans affairs minister in the House of Commons seating plan.

"I'm very satisfied with the overall meeting we had", said International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. Opposition parties maintain she was demoted because she wouldn't instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin, rather than pursue a criminal conviction that could see the company barred from bidding on public contracts for 10 years.

Though, on Sunday's episode of CTV's Question Period, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said the government's treatment of Wilson-Raybould has done serious damage to the party's reputation with Indigenous people in Canada, saying that many had "made up their mind" on the issue. The former minister said she would remain in the Liberal caucus, and another lawmaker said she will indeed be called to speak to the justice committee. Wilson-Raybould will say her piece - and the Liberals appear to have already concluded they can live with that testimony. "Of course we are going to be very careful about how we move forward in protecting those jobs but we are also going to, at the same time, make sure that we are standing up for the independence of our judicial system and all the processes that keep our democratic institutions safe".

"There will be nobody from the Prime Minister's Office at this", he said.

Trudeau also stated that he apologized to Wilson-Raybould during that caucus meeting, for not condemning sooner the personal attacks against her by unnamed Liberal sources in the days after the SNC-Lavalin controversy began unfolding.

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