Trudeau disagrees with Wilson-Raybould’s recounting of SNC-Lavalin events

Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson Raybould walks to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 26 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Sean Kilpatrick

Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson Raybould walks to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 26 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS Sean Kilpatrick

In a meeting in December with Trudeau's then-principal secretary Gerry Butts, Wilson-Raybould said she told him that everyone needed to stop lobbying her to push for the DPA.

She didn't speak directly to Trudeau about SNC-Lavalin again until January 7, when he informed her he was about to move her out of the justice portfolio and she told him she believed the move was the result of her refusal to intervene in the prosecution.

Trudeau initially dismissed the allegations as "false" but has since said that, while he did discuss the SNC-Lavalin prosecution with Wilson-Raybould, the decision on the prosecution of the company was "hers alone" to make.

Gerald Butts, Trudeau's closet adviser, resigned last week but denied that he or anyone else pressured Wilson-Raybould.

In fiery testimony delivered before a parliamentary justice committee that was carried live on Canadian television, Jody Wilson-Raybould said that "inappropriate" political pressure campaign involved 11 people, including some who made "veiled threats" if she did not offer SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement that would drop the criminal charges facing the Montreal-based company in exchange for the payment of a hefty fine.

On Jan. 7, Wilson-Raybould said Trudeau spoke to her to let her know that she was being shuffled out of the justice and attorney general portfolio for a number of reasons that she said she was not at liberty to disclose. She said Wernick told her: "I think (the prime minister) is going to find a way to get it done one way or another".

Opposition lawmakers accuse Trudeau of trying to cover up an attempt by officials to help SNC-Lavalin, which could be banned from bidding for federal contracts for a decade if found guilty.

Wilson-Raybould's testimony in front of the House of Commons justice committee were her first public remarks since allegations were published three weeks ago in The Globe and Mail that she had faced undue pressure from the Prime Minister's Office in the matter. She said he backtracked and responded "no, no".

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Prince, she said, told her through text messages that Butts told her, "There is no solution here that does not involve some interference", while Telford said, "We don't want to debate legalities anymore".

Wilson-Raybould, who named several senior officials in the offices of Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, said under questioning from Liberal legislators that she did not feel the pressure on her had been illegal.

Wilson-Raybould said that both her and members of her staff faced "extraordinary pressure" in the matter.

Andrew Scheer, leader of the official opposition Conservative Party, demanded the resignation of what he called a disgraced prime minister.

Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault argued that decisions on prosecutions continue throughout a case and wondered whether Wilson-Raybould believed she should continue to accept information that might affect the case.

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.

She believed that distracted from appropriate concerns in considering a remediation agreement, such as saving the jobs of innocent people or the public interest more broadly.

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