Liberal MPs shut down SNC committee before vote on recalling Wilson-Raybould

14 Mars, 2019, 17:19 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Justice Committee

Opposition MPs erupted in fury Wednesday after the Liberals used their majority on the House of Commons justice committee to delay an opposition attempt to call Jody Wilson-Raybould to testify again on the SNC-Lavalin affair.

The Liberals, with five MPs to the opposition's four, prevailed.

She said the Liberals signalled to Canadians that they are simply "not interested in the truth" and continued to echo NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's call for an independent public inquiry into the allegations of political interference. The discussion on future witnesses, including Wilson-Raybould, will now be next week, in private.

Opposition MPs pitched their offer to reinvite Wilson-Raybould to return to the committee and to urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to expand the parameters of the order-in-council that originally permitted her to testify at the committee, before Liberal MP Francis Drouin moved to adjourn the meeting less than half an hour after it began.

In addition to decrying the mean social media comments directed at him since he first appeared on February 21st, the country's top bureaucrat stuck to his story-that conversations with Wilson-Raybould were routine for cabinet and also warranted because of the SNC-Lavalin jobs that could be vulnerable during a protracted trial and conviction.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper said it is essential for the discussion to be out in the open because not allowing Wilson-Raybould to speak again is obstructing the committee's ability to fully study the matter.

On 6 March, Trudeau's former adviser, Gerald Butts, testifiedhe had never acted in an improper manner and suggested the dispute was a misunderstanding.

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Poilievre said it wasn't fair that Butts got to speak about things that happened between the time Wilson-Raybould was shuffled from the Justice Department to Veterans Affairs in January and the day she quit cabinet a month later, while the former minister herself felt bound by cabinet-secrecy obligations. Wilson-Raybould also desired this second chance and said so publicly in a statement.

Wilson-Raybould appeared February 27 for about four hours, but after Trudeau's former principal secretary Gerald Butts testified a week later, opposition MPs say they have new questions for the ex-justice minister. Poilievre said Trudeau needs to extend the waiver because something clearly happened in that time that was so "egregious" it pushed Wilson-Raybould to quit.

"If they were going to let her speak, they could have done it today ..."

New Democrat MP Tracey Ramsey said Trudeau himself has benefited from a double standard.

None of the Liberals who are full voting members of the committee responded Tuesday to queries from The Canadian Press.

"What are you guys afraid of?" shouted Conservative MP and committee member Michael Barrett, who referenced Justin Trudeau's recent 4200km roundtrip between the capital and Florida where he is now vacationing.

"Canadians deserve to know the truth, they deserve a government that doesn't have one set of laws for their rich corporate donor-friends and another set for everyone else and they certainly are not getting either from the Liberals", said Ramsey.

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