Committee sets time for Wilson Raybould testimony on SNC Lavalin controversy

Committee sets time for Wilson Raybould testimony on SNC Lavalin controversy

Making a reference to the Watergate scandal, former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she had thoughts of the "Saturday Night Massacre" when she received what she characterized as "veiled threats" from her government on losing her job unless she cooperated on the SNC-Lavalin issue.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier today he is looking forward to hearing her testimony.

The move comes directly before Jody Wilson-Raybould was invited to speak before the justice committee investigation into the allegations by the Liberal chair, Anthony Housefather.

An order-in-council (OIC) posted online Monday waived cabinet confidence and solicitor-client privilege, except for communications between Wilson-Raybould and the director of public prosecutions "in order to uphold the integrity of any criminal or civil proceedings", according to the text of the order.

However, in a letter to the committee Tuesday, Wilson-Raybould warned that the waiver "falls short of what is required" for her to fully tell her side of the story.

The waiver given to Wilson-Raybould to speak about her time as attorney general also applies to others in government with whom she spoke about the SNC-Lavalin prosecution.

Wilson-Raybould said officials imposed "consistent and sustained pressure" on her from September to December past year to ensure SNC-Lavalin pay a large fine rather than go to trial.

Following a justice committee meeting this morning, Wilson-Raybould was asked to appear at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday where she will be given her requested 30-minute opening statement before taking questions.

He would surely have had to have that extrasensory capabilities to know that, quite aside from the cabinet meetings - which he does attend and where one would hardly expect illicit pressures to be openly spoken of - nothing was said in any other face-to-face meeting or phone call with the likes of mover-and-shaker Butts.

However, it keeps the myriad of questions swirling around the controversy in the spotlight and could force the government to explain its reasoning if members and Trudeau himself vote against the motion.

The waiver given to Wilson-Raybould to speak about her time as attorney general also applies to others in government with whom she spoke about the SNC-Lavalin prosecution. The agreement would have allowed the company to pay reparations but avoid a criminal trial on charges of corruption and bribery.

Wilson-Raybould was unexpectedly demoted in January and resigned from the Cabinet this month.

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

She resigned the following day and told the House of Commons last week she wants the opportunity to "speak my truth".

The justice committee is examining the growing controversy touched off by a February 7 Globe and Mail report that said Trudeau's aides attempted to press Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin to help the company avoid criminal prosecution on bribery charges related to contracts in Libya.

"I therefore completely disagree with (Wilson-Raybould's) characterization of events", he continued, brushing off a demand from Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer that he resign.

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. The opposition Conservatives and New Democrats have sought testimony from Trudeau and several senior PMO staff believed to be central to the story, and called for a public inquiry, with no success.



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