Science

Clerk partisan in SNC-Lavalin affair

Clerk partisan in SNC-Lavalin affair”

Trudeau denies any improper conduct occurred and that any conversations on the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin were done with Wilson-Raybould knowing the final decision was hers alone.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on Justin Trudeau to resign Wednesday, saying former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould's troubling testimony about SNC-Lavalin proved the prime minister has lost the moral authority to govern.

But it must be so, as he was able to unequivocally state that the Trudeau cabal never pressured ex-Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould on the SNC Lavalin file.

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.

His comments could also indicate the government has determined there are aspects of the matter that are not covered by solicitor-client privilege and which she should feel free to speak about, and more information is expected shortly.

The Globe and Mail's report this month said Trudeau's office pressured her to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin.

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.

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

Wilson-Raybould said that during a September 17 meeting with Trudeau, he asked her "to find a solution" for SNC-Lavalin.

Trudeau wouldn't directly answer a question about whether he thinks she can talk about why she resigned. The newspaper indicated Wilson-Raybould resisted before she was shuffled to Veterans Affairs.

Instead, Wilson-Raybould was allegedly pushed to pursue a remediation agreement that would avoid charges and the prospect of the company being ineligible for government contracts for a decade.

Wernick told MPs at that committee that he used his meeting to "convey consequences" of not offering a remediation agreement to Wilson-Raybould. In 2015, as a member of Carleton University's Board of Governors, Wernick referred publicly to student protests against tuition hikes that disrupted a board meeting, as having "no place in a lawful democratic society - (the) tactics of Brownshirts and Maoists". Wernick said he was informing the minister of "context" surrounding her decision on the company but insisted it was not inappropriate pressure.

- 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.

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. Butts has insisted that at no time did he apply improper pressure on the former minister.

While the NDP leader said Trudeau and others may eventually have to step down, he said that determination should come after a public inquiry is held to get the bottom of what really happened.

The Liberals don't appear ready to support the Conservative motion to call Trudeau to testify.

So far, the Liberal majority on the justice committee has balked at calling staffers as witnesses, but it could reconsider after hearing from Wilson-Raybould.



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