Gerald Butts on ‘my character’ and that of others involved

Erika Holt
March 7, 2019

Wilson-Raybould testified last week in Parliament that she believes she lost the justice job because she didn't give in to "sustained" and "inappropriate pressure" by Trudeau and other senior members of his government to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin.

She said she was subjected to repeated pressure to "find a solution" for the firm.

During Wernick's February 21 appearance he offered off-topic opening remarks on the state of online discourse, partisanship and the prospect of political assassinations.

Wilson-Raybould, unexpectedly demoted to the veterans affairs ministry in January, told the committee she felt this was linked to the SNC-Lavalin case, which Butts denied.

They will be appearing between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Mr Trudeau has previously avoided questions on a criminal investigation, saying he thinks "it is important there is an airing on this situation" in the form of the ethics commissioner's and parliamentary committee's investigations. He was responding to accusations from former attorney general Wilson-Raybould that she faced pressure from the Prime Minister's Office to intervene in the criminal prosecution case of SNC-Lavalin. The company is a major employer in Quebec, with about 3,400 employees in the province, 9,000 employees in Canada and more than 50,000 worldwide.

SNC-Lavalin faces fraud charges relating to bribes the company is said to have offered to Libyan officials to influence the awarding of contracts between 2001 and 2011.

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Wilson-Raybould said the same last week but declined to say she had confidence in Trudeau.

The Prime Minister's Office has confirmed that all of Justin Trudeau's events scheduled in Regina today have been cancelled.

After Wilson-Raybould resigned, Trudeau repeatedly called her "Jody" in defending his actions toward her - a small indignity but one many noticed.

"The attempt by the cabinet to highlight a personal relationship as an explanation as to why the cabinet minister resigned is completely false", Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt said in an interview. "It was about ensuring that the attorney general was making her decision with the absolute best evidence possible", Butts said during his testimony Wednesday. The event has been postponed to a later date, the Liberals said on Tuesday morning.

Butts stressed the decision to remove her from her post had nothing to do with SNC Lavalin and the decision to shuffle the cabinet was only made after MP Scott Brison told the Prime Minister he would not seek re-election. "The Attorney General could have spoken or written to the Prime Minister at any time during this process to say attempts to contact her office on the meeting were improper and they should cease immediately".

Wiseman said the last time he can recall something like this was in 1963 when three Cabinet ministers resigned over then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's opposition to the stationing of American nuclear weapons on Canadian soil.

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