Wilson-Raybould complains she won’t be able to tell full SNC-Lavalin story

Former federal justice minister set to testify at justice committee on Wednesday

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Jody Wilson-Raybould is warning that she won’t be able to speak freely about everything concerning the SNC-Lavalin affair when she finally gives her side of the story Wednesday, breaking almost three weeks of silence that has fuelled the anonymously-sourced controversy and shaken the Trudeau government to its core.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an order-in-council Monday that waived the solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality provisions that Wilson-Raybould has repeatedly cited to refuse comment on the controversy.

READ MORE: Trudeau partially waives solicitor-client privilege for Wilson-Raybould

But in a letter Tuesday to the House of Commons justice committee, Wilson-Raybould said the waiver covers only her time as justice minister and attorney general. It does not release her to talk about any communications she had after she was moved to the veterans affairs post in early January, her subsequent resignation from cabinet or the presentation she was allowed to give to cabinet last week after resigning a week earlier, she wrote.

“I mention this simply to alert the committee to the fact that the order-in-council leaves in place whatever restraints there are on my ability to speak freely about matters that occurred after I left the post of attorney general,” she wrote.

Nevertheless, Wilson-Raybould accepted the committee’s invitation to testify Wednesday afternoon about allegations the Prime Minister’s Office improperly pressured her last fall to drop a criminal prosecution against Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Since the allegation involves inappropriate pressure on her as attorney general, it was not clear why she would need to discuss anything that was said or done after she left the job. In response to Wilson-Raybould’s letter, committee members wrote back saying they believe the waiver is sufficient for the former minister to testify fully.

However, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said it’s clear from Wilson-Raybould’s letter that “she has more to say and the prime minister isn’t letting her say it.”

“Justin Trudeau is trying to trick Canadians into believing that he is letting Ms. Wilson-Raybould speak freely. In reality, however, he is still hiding information he doesn’t want Canadians to know,” Scheer said in a statement.

Trudeau, who has denied any wrongdoing, said Tuesday that he’s looking forward to the former minister’s testimony.

“It is important that people get an opportunity to testify or share their point of view with the committee,” he said.

“As we said, waiving privilege, waiving cabinet confidentiality is something that we had to take very seriously, but I’m pleased that Ms. Wilson-Raybould is going to be able to share her perspective.”

It has been nearly three weeks since the allegation first surfaced that Trudeau’s office pressured Wilson-Raybould last fall to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin, rather than pursue a criminal prosecution for corruption and bribery related to government contracts in Libya. Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the prestigious justice portfolio to veterans affairs in early January, which some allege was punishment for her refusal to drop the criminal proceedings.

Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet several days after the Globe and Mail first reported the allegation. Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigned a week later, but insisted neither he nor anyone else in the PMO had unduly pressured Wilson-Raybould.

Joan Bryden and Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Healthcare travelling roadshow aims to inspire high school students across B.C

Over 2,000 youth in different rural communities will be visited through this project

Gallery: Project Heavy Duty inspires students into it’s 32nd year

The event is a collaboration between SD91 and industry in and around Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James

Madison Scott’s mother hosts event to keep search for her missing daughter alive

Eight years ago, the Vanderhoof teenager disappeared, and the RCMP continue to chase leads

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Terrace hospital’s business plan approved

Health Minister’s announcement opens door to construction phase

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Most Read