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

Raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis through a movie

B.C. mother shares the story of her child suffering from the fatal genetic disease

SD91 and UNBC held a workshop where students discussed community stressors

Youth voices are important and need to be heard, says UNBC researcher

BC Search and Rescue Association receives $18.6 million in funding

Largest injection of funds in the history of Ground SAR, says BCSARA secretary Chris Mushumanski

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read