March 24, 2019

MALCOLM: Trudeau in full damage control mode over SNC-Lavalin

18 February 2019, 09:01 | Edward Lowe

Canada's Trudeau says no direction given to former justice minister over SNC-Lavalin

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This week, Trudeau said it was only because of former Treasury Secretary Scott Brison's resignation that the cabinet was shuffled and Raybould-Wilson moved.

The release also states the Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has written to the prime minister requesting he waive solicitor-client privilege so Wilson-Raybould may speak about what happened and to preserve all documents relating to the ongoing SNC-Lavalin affair.

During a conversation in the fall, Trudeau said Wilson-Raybould asked if he would be directing her to take a particular decision, stressing that he replied, "No".

Wilson-Raybould proceeded to quit the cabinet on Tuesday.

"I accept her decision even if I don't entirely understand it", Trudeau said.

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The Globe and Mail broke the story earlier this month that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) pressured then-Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the criminal prosecution of Montreal's SNC-Lavalin Group.

The six Liberal MPs on the committee practically transformed themselves into agents of the PMO, blocking calls to have key witnesses testify - including Wilson-Raybould and top PMO officials - while name-calling opposition MPs and insisting on studying a law that the Liberals slipped into the last omnibus bill to protect SNC-Lavalin rather than investigating the scandal itself.

Trudeau again denied on Friday that he "directed" Wilson-Raybould to make any decisions when she served as attorney general.

The prime minister faced repeated questions about the brewing controversy during a morning event in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, leading him to say his government was simply doing its job by discussing the issues and ramifications about the SNC-Lavalin case. "I can tell you our government did its job", Trudeau said.

Trudeau said the conversations were appropriate given the economic effects of a conviction for a company that employs thousands of people at home and overseas.

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"I do want to hear from her, I do".

Trudeau didn't say what reasons she gave for her resignation.

While talking about the demotion of former attorney general Jody Wilson Raybould, Housefather told host Elias Makos the cabinet shuffle may have had to do with her lack of French.

For her part, Wilson-Raybould has cited solicitor-client privilege when asked to speak publicly on the matter.

The Montreal Liberal MP and chair of the House of Commons justice committee made a number of media appearances recently, including on his hometown station CJAD 800.

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Wilson-Raybould who is a former Crown attorney, and Assembly of First Nations regional chief for B.C., has retained the legal counsel of Thomas Cromwell.

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