Canada opposition leader demands PM Trudeau quit over ethics allegations

Trudeau government clears Jody Wilson-Raybould to speak to justice committee on SNC-Lavalin

Wilson-Raybould complains she won't be able to tell full story

Wilson-Raybould has yet to confirm or deny allegations the prime minister pressured her to cut a deal with SNC-Lavalin.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lifted the solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality provisions keeping his former attorney from telling her side of the SNC-Lavalin prosecution story.

Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the justice portfolio in January when she was named veterans affairs minister and soon afterward resigned from cabinet, though she remains in the Liberal caucus.

He acknowledged discussing the matter with Wilson-Raybould but says he told her in the meeting that the decision of how to handle the matter was "hers alone".

Trudeau largely waived lawyer-client privilege to allow Wilson-Raybould to speak and said Tuesday that he's "pleased" she will get that opportunity.

So will she speak freely or be guarded in what she says, citing solicitor-client privilege when asked hard questions?

Wilson-Raybould said that during a September 17 meeting with Trudeau and Michael Wernick, the government's top public servant, she was warned that if SNC-Lavalin is not given a remediation agreement-a type of plea bargain that would allow the company to avoid a criminal conviction-it would mean the loss of many jobs and SNC-Lavalin moving out of Montreal.

"She plans to let it rip", said one source in close contact with Wilson-Raybould, noting that she asked for a 30 minute opening statement.

The House of Commons is debating an opposition motion put forward by Scheer asking MPs to "order the Prime Minister to appear, testify and answer questions at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, under oath, for a televised two-hour meeting, before Friday, March 15, 2019".

Pakistan to release captured Indian pilot as 'peace gesture'
New Delhi has accused Pakistan of shielding militant group Jaish e Mohammad, which has claimed responsibility for the attack . The recent developments involving both countries was likely to be discussed Thursday during a meeting between U.S.

Wilson-Raybould said those exchanges prompted her to think of the so-called Saturday Night Massacre of 1973, when the USA attorney general and his top deputy quit rather than obey an order from President Richard Nixon to fire an investigator probing the Watergate scandal.

She cited several senior officials in the offices of Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau as among those weighing in.

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. A "remediation agreement", a sort of plea bargain, would have headed off a trial and removed the possibility SNC-Lavalin would be banned from federal business in Canada.

It has been 20 days since the story first broke and since then, Wilson-Raybould has resigned from cabinet, Trudeau's top adviser has resigned while claiming no wrongdoing, and Trudeau continues to say that there was nothing improper about the interactions with Wilson-Raybould on this matter. 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 told MPs at that committee that he used his meeting to "convey consequences" of not offering a remediation agreement to Wilson-Raybould.

According to Wilson-Raybould, Wernick told her that Trudeau wanted to know why SNC-Lavalin was not being offered a remediation agreement.

Wilson-Raybould is also likely to provide her version of a December 5 dinner with Butts, who resigned last week.

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.

Latest News