Five things we learned from Wilson-Raybould at the justice committee

Wilson-Raybould provided a detailed accounting of meetings and phone calls on the SNC-Lavalin affair

Five things Canadians learned from former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, in her testimony Wednesday at the House of Commons justice committee.

1. Wilson-Raybould said there were at least 10 phone calls and 10 different meetings, as well as several text messages, about the SNC-Lavalin case, between her or senior members of her staff and 11 people in the Prime Minister’s Office and other departments, between Sept. 4, 2018 and Dec. 18, 2018. One of those meetings was between her and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

She said she began to be concerned immediately about what she viewed as pressure on her to overturn the decision not to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin but that her concerns were heightened as the calls and meetings continued even after she said she had made up he mind not to arrange for a deal.

2. Wilson-Raybould was informed on Sept. 4 that the director of public prosecutions had decided not to pursue a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin, but rather continue with a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. She said she conducted her own due diligence and by Sept. 16 had made up her mind that she would not overrule the director’s decision or take over the prosecution herself. The law gives her the authority to do either but Wilson-Raybould said an attorney general has never taken over a prosecution and directives to the public prosecutor have been used only for general policies, not specific cases.

Wilson-Raybould said it wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss what research she undertook, or why she made the decision she made, citing concerns about affecting ongoing court cases in the matter.

VIDEO: Wilson-Raybould’s place in Liberal party at risk after SNC-Lavalin testimony

Wilson-Raybould said she felt once she had made up her mind, it was inappropriate to have further conversations about the matter.

Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault argued that decisions on prosecutions continue throughout a case and wondered whether Wilson-Raybould believed she should continue to accept information that might affect the case.

“I was entirely comfortable that I had the appropriate context in which to make my decision,” she said.

3. The conversation Wilson-Raybould had with Trudeau on Sept. 17 alarmed her when he talked about SNC-Lavalin’s importance in Quebec, and the fact that he is a Quebec MP. She believed that distracted from appropriate concerns in considering a remediation agreement, such as saving the jobs of innocent people or the public interest more broadly. She asked him if he was interfering in her role as an independent attorney general and that she would strongly advise against that. She said Trudeau said, “No, no, no, we just need to find a solution.”

4. Wilson-Raybould believed Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick was issuing “veiled threats” to her in a phone call they had on Dec. 19, 2018, in which he told her that the prime minister was still concerned and wanted to know why a deferred-prosecution agreement wasn’t being pursued. She said Wernick told her: “I think (the prime minister) is going to find a way to get it done one way or another. He is in that kind of mood and I wanted you to be aware of it.”

5. The Liberal MPs on the committee asked Wilson-Raybould many times why, if she had so many concerns about being improperly pressured regarding the SNC-Lavalin prosecution, she didn’t resign earlier as the attorney general, and why she accepted a new cabinet job as the minister of veterans affairs when she felt she was being shuffled for not doing what the prime minister wanted.

Wilson-Raybould’s response continued to be that she was doing her job as the attorney general, and upholding the integrity of the office. She told the committee if a directive to proceed to a deferred prosecution had been made while she was the veterans-affairs minister, she would have resigned from cabinet immediately. She did end up resigning on Feb. 12 but said she could not say why, saying an order freeing her from obligations of cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege did not extend to the period after she was no longer the attorney general.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Gentlemen, and ladies, start your motors!

Kitimat Memorial Hill Climb 2019

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Under pressure: SD82 takes heat over principal reassignments

School district hears demands during packed board meeting in Terrace

We’re killing our bears

Attractants still a major problem in Kitimat

Kitimat City High students build their own hiking trail

The best part is that it’s right next to the school

Gentlemen, and ladies, start your motors!

Kitimat Memorial Hill Climb 2019

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read