Liberal MPs shut down SNC committee before vote on recalling Wilson Raybould

Elias Hubbard
March 14, 2019

He also implied the date of the meeting, which coincides with the announcement of the federal budget, is no accident.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre kicked things off with a motion to summon the former attorney general back no later than tomorrow, saying she "was not allowed to complete her testimony" the first time.

New Democrat MP Tracey Ramsey said Trudeau himself has benefited from what she called a double standard.

Thus far no Liberals have said publicly whether they will agree to call her a second time. According to committee rules, a motion to adjourn takes precedence over anything else the committee might do.

The Liberals, with five MPs to the opposition's four, prevailed. Opposition MPs cried "coverup" and "shame".

On the other side, Prime Minister Trudeau, his former principal secretary Gerry Butts and the Clerk of the Privy Council, all of whom say nothing outside the normal functioning of government happened.

When he testified, Butts put the dispute down to a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings. The Conservatives say the waiver of solicitor-client privilege and cabinet secrecy that Trudeau issued to allow Wilson-Raybould to speak is limiting and that she should be allowed to also answer questions about why she resigned from cabinet and what she subsequently told the cabinet in a meeting after that resignation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already said the existing waiver allowed Wilson-Raybould "to address this matter expansively and in detail", which he said is what she did two weeks ago.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says it is concerned by accusations that Trudeau and staff in his office tried to persuade former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to let the Quebec engineering giant negotiate a remediation agreement rather than pursue the firm on criminal charges of bribery and fraud.

The opposition wants to be able to ask about the period after she was shuffled from Justice to Veterans Affairs in mid-January, including why she resigned from cabinet. He said last week he resigned not because he had done anything wrong, but because he felt if he stayed on after Wilson-Raybould resigned it would look as though Trudeau was choosing him, a longtime friend, over a minister. "That is what happened today", Poilievre said.

"He sent in his majority to shut down that discussion without a debate and ensure that Canadians will never know the truth", Poilievre said after the abrupt end of the meeting.

"There were 11 people that the former attorney general mentioned that were involved in this entire affair and all of those people should be before the committee", she said.

For almost a month now, headlines have been dominated by stories of scandal and pressure and testimony, and Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government's attempt to change the narrative. "We'll have more news on that in the days ahead", Poilievre said. Judging by the coverage, that attempt hasn't worked-but how has the SNC-Lavalin scandal actually changed Canadians' stated voting preferences?

None of the Liberals who are full members of the committee responded Tuesday to queries from The Canadian Press.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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