Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Most Canadians suspect SNC-Lavalin affair will reveal deeper PMO scandal

Unpacking the politics of the SNC-Lavalin affair Unpacking the politics of the SNC-Lavalin affair
Cary Marshall | 01 March, 2019, 20:24

Those constraints, outlined by her in the letter, include claimed solicitor-client privilege, which she says only the government can waive, and the sub judice rule, which bars parliamentarians from saying anything that could impact ongoing court cases.

"On Sept. 17, Jody Wilson-Raybould told the prime minister and the clerk of the Privy Council in no uncertain terms she wasn't going to overrule her deputy on the matter", Raitt told CTV.

"I completely disagree with the former attorney general's characterization of events", Trudeau said in Montreal, shortly after Wilson-Raybould concluded four hours of explosive testimony before the House of Commons justice committee. After 30 days it's only $5 a month.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued the waiver Monday. It does not release her to talk about any communications she had after she was moved to the veterans affairs post in early January, her subsequent resignation from cabinet or the presentation she was allowed to give to cabinet last week after resigning a week earlier, she wrote.

"Canadians need to be outraged at the suggestion that politicians were putting pressure on independent agents of the Crown, independent legal officers, to try to get a better deal for well connected friends of the Liberal party", Scheer said.

Both the Conservatives and New Democrats say testimony so far at the committee makes clear to them that the PMO went too far in pressuring Wilson-Raybould to pursue SNC-Lavalin through a remediation agreement, rather than criminal prosecution, for fraud and bribery related to the firm's work in Libya. "I can tell you, my view very firmly is they were entirely appropriate, lawful, legal, and I am prepared to submit to the judgment of the ethics commissioner on that", Wernick said. He asked Ms. Wilson-Raybould to confirm whether, in being asked to issue a directive on a specific case, she was being asked to do something "historic". She said she was convinced the SNC-Lavalin case had prompted her demotion.

Ms Wilson-Raybould said: "Within the conversations, there were expressed statements regarding the necessity of interference in the SNC-Lavalin matter, the potential of consequences and veiled threats if a deferred prosecution agreement was not made available to SNC".

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Mr. Butts resigned as the Prime Minister's principal secretary on February 18., rejecting any suggestion that he or anyone in the Prime Minister's Office put pressure on Ms. Wilson-Raybould.

- A September 17 meeting with Trudeau and Wernick, which the clerk said was primarily focused on the stalled Indigenous rights agenda, over which he said Wilson-Raybould had "a very serious policy difference" with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and other ministers.

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.

Her chief of staff, Jessica Prince, was eventually summoned to an urgent December 18 meeting with Trudeau's chief of staff, Katie Telford, and his then principal secretary, Butts.

In all, Wilson-Raybould said pressure was exerted on her or her staff by 11 people through approximately 10 phone calls, 10 meetings and numerous emails and text messages.

Rather, Wernick told the committee he provided the then-solicitor general with the "context" that a lot of people were anxious about the consequences to jobs, communities and suppliers should SNC-Lavalin face criminal proceedings.

Canada's former attorney general is expected to testify Wednesday about whether she was inappropriately pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office to avoid prosecuting a major Canadian engineering company.

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