Trudeau pleased Wilson-Raybould can share her 'perspectives' on SNC-Lavalin affair


During that meeting, held two weeks after the director of public prosecutions had ruled out a remediation agreement for SNC-Lavalin, Wernick said Wilson-Raybould informed the prime minister that she had "no intention of intervening" in the matter, although as attorney general she was legally entitled to give direction to the public prosecutor.

The Tory leader's remark came after more than three hours of testimony from Jody Wilson-Raybould, who alleged that she faced "consistent and sustained pressure" for four months from Trudeau, his senior staff, Canada's top public servant and the finance minister's office to halt the criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant.

It has been almost three weeks since anonymous allegations first surfaced that Trudeau's office pressured Wilson-Raybould to negotiate a remediation agreement with Quebec's SNC-Lavalin, rather than pursue a criminal prosecution for corruption and bribery related to government contracts in Libya. She remains a Liberal MP and has said she intends to run as a Liberal in this fall's election.

Wilson-Raybould accepted the committee's invitation to testify but complained in a letter to the justice committee that the waiver does not release her to talk about any communications she had after she was named minister of veteran affairs or her resignation from the Cabinet.

In making its case to the public prosecutor's office for a remediation agreement, SNC-Lavalin stressed the steps it had taken to foster a strong sense of ethics among employees.

SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based company at the centre of a raging political controversy, has extensive federal ties amounting to millions of dollars in contracts, big and small. Residents of SNC's home province of Quebec leaned towards remediation, with 51 per cent preferring that option.

Justice Minister David Lametti, who was advising Trudeau on the matter of privilege, said Tuesday his office had contact with Wilson-Raybould's legal team on the matter, but would give no details about those conversations.

Wilson-Raybould was unexpectedly demoted in January and resigned from the Cabinet this month.

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An order-in-council was released last night clearing Wilson-Raybould to tell the justice committee anything about any conversations she had with the Privy Council about her authority on the case while she was attorney general. "I can not", her letter said to the committee said.

So will she speak freely or be guarded in what she says, citing solicitor-client privilege when asked hard questions?

Nevertheless, her appearance at committee is hotly anticipated, the first time Wilson-Raybould will break her silence on the anonymously sourced allegation of improper pressure since it first surfaced three weeks ago.

"Canadians need to be outraged at the suggestion that politicians were putting pressure on independent agents of the Crown, independent legal officers, to try to get a better deal for well connected friends of the Liberal party", Scheer said.

"I was quite taken aback", she said, adding that she looked Trudeau in the eye and asked: "Are you politically interfering with my role, my decision as the attorney general?". Wilson-Raybould had the power to scrap the decision to go to trial but decided against it.

Her chief of staff, Jessica Prince, was eventually summoned to an urgent December 18 meeting with Trudeau's chief of staff, Katie Telford, and his then principal secretary, Butts.

Trudeau did not dispute that the SNC-Lavalin case was a hot topic of discussion with Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould said officials cited the danger that the firm might cut jobs or move its headquarters out of Quebec if found guilty. "So, he is in that kind (of) mood and I wanted you to be aware of that".