Jody Wilson-Raybould publicly addresses SNC-Lavalin scandal


"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".

Last week, Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick told the committee that, in his view, everyone in the Prime Minister's Office conducted themselves with "the highest standards of integrity", that no inappropriate pressure was put on Wilson-Raybould and that Trudeau repeatedly assured her the decision on the SNC-Lavalin prosecution was hers alone.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lifted the solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality provisions keeping his former attorney from telling her side of the SNC-Lavalin prosecution story. After 30 days it's only $5 a month.

Opposition parties pounced on Wilson-Raybould's letter to accuse Trudeau of gagging his former minister.

As he headed to the caucus meeting, caucus chair Francis Scarpaleggia told reporters that he thinks the historic waiver Trudeau issued goes far enough to let her speak to the core issue at the heart of the affair.

He would surely have had to have that extrasensory capabilities to know that, quite aside from the cabinet meetings - which he does attend and where one would hardly expect illicit pressures to be openly spoken of - nothing was said in any other face-to-face meeting or phone call with the likes of mover-and-shaker Butts.

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

The agreements allow companies to avoid a criminal prosecution if they admit wrongdoing, pay fines and restitution and plan to prevent future bad behaviour.

Wilson-Raybould's appearance is also likely to focus on hearing more details about several related meetings or conversations, both before and after the Director of Public Prosecutions chose to pursue the criminal case.

Wilson-Raybould provided a detailed accounting of meetings and phone calls to back up her accusations, breaking three weeks of silence on the affair that has rocked the government, prompting her resignation from cabinet and the departure of Trudeau's most trusted adviser, Gerald Butts.

For his part, Singh said Wilson-Raybould's testimony painted a picture of a prime minister and other members of government who were willing to disregard the rule of law and were more interested in helping powerful friends than average Canadians.

She said she didn't speak directly to Trudeau about SNC-Lavalin again until January 7, when he informed her he was about to move her out of the justice portfolio; she suggested the move was the result of her refusal to intervene in the prosecution, which he denied.

Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet on February 12, and has remained silent on the matter, insisting she's still bound by solicitor-client confidentiality from her time as attorney general.

While the NDP leader said Trudeau and others may eventually have to step down, he said that determination should come after a public inquiry is held to get the bottom of what really happened. Wernick was not present at that meeting and offered no details.

She resigned the following day and told the House of Commons last week she wants the opportunity to "speak my truth".

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. Butts has confirmed Wilson-Raybould raised the SNC-Lavalin matter briefly and he advised her to speak to Wernick.

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