Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
Money | By Arnold Ball

Justin Trudeau has cancelled his planned trip to Regina for Tuesday afternoon

Justin Trudeau has cancelled his planned trip to Regina for Tuesday afternoon

It's easy to picture Jody Wilson-Raybould's testimony before the House of Commons justice committee last week as a series of calendar squares-days on which she painstakingly laid out, like the prosecutor she is, a series of phone calls and in-person meetings she perceived as a "barrage" of attempted political interference in the SNC-Lavalin case over the course of four months last fall.

Jody Wilson-Raybould told a shocking story in her appearance at the federal justice committee last week.

They also voted down a motion to have Wilson-Raybould return to the committee to respond to evidence from Butts that contradicted her own.

Butts said he was startled when he learned that Wilson-Raybould felt the secret talks had threatened the independence of the criminal justice system.

The news comes one day after Treasury Board president Jane Philpott resigned from the federal cabinet.

However-and this was key to the former principal secretary's argument that it was never made clear last fall to anyone involved that the attorney general was feeling harangued by the ongoing conversations about SNC-Butts said he had no idea that she had made up her mind then.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has cancelled his trip to Regina scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

"It is a huge privilege for me to serve in this government, to serve as foreign minister for Canada", she said. He said that the first time he learned that the Wilson-Raybould had reached a final decision in September on the SNC-Lavalin case was when she testified last week.

SNC-Lavalin openly lobbied the Canadian government for an out-of-court settlement that would mean paying a fine and agreeing to compliance measures. Which is to say that he returned the whole scandal to exactly the place the Liberals want it - a political soap opera of "he said, she said", where only subjective perspectives are known and the facts remain forever hidden.

But in what Wilson-Raybould depicted as a "consistent and sustained" pattern of political meddling, there were calendar squares Butts did not directly contradict.

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Liverpool has beaten Everton on their own turf just twice in that span, however, drawing five times . We can't change that at the moment - all we can do is win games.

Butts disagrees on the timeline and nature of the interactions, saying that it was "inconceivable" that anyone in the Prime Minister's office would act in such a manner, and he said that no government official, Trudeau included, would "direct or ask the attorney general to negotiate a remediation agreement". "Those things aren't generally out in the public", Rusnak said. He also wondered aloud why Wilson-Raybould - someone he said tended to communicate in writing on the most important topics - failed to so on this one.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will issue a public statement on the SNC-Lavalin scandal in a Thursday morning press conference in Ottawa.

"I made no threats to the former attorney general".

Butts says he and others tried only to persuade Wilson-Raybould to seek independent legal advice on the matter, given the potential impact on the company's 9,000 employees and the fact that remediation agreements are a new feature in Canadian law.

Minister Philpott seemed excited by the challenge, but expressed concern that Wilson-Raybauld would see her shuffle as a demotion. He has "no memory" of her asking him to reprimand staff and says at no point did she suggest anyone had done anything wrong.

"I asked her in a surprised tone whether she was questioning the integrity of the Prime Minister", he told members of Parliament.

What's not in dispute - and hasn't been for the past month - is that the SNC-Lavalin affair is taking a heavy toll on the government.

Liberal justice committee member Randy Boissoinault said Butts' testimony was "very revealing", though opposition MPs were less impressed.

"I will note, as I indicated at the time, my statement to the committee was not a complete account but only a detailed summary".

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