Liberals must let Wilson-Raybould come back to committee, opposition says

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 14, 2019

In addition to Wilson-Raybould, Ramsey says the committee needs to hear from everyone the former minister says tried to change her mind, including senior staff in the PMO and the chief of staff to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Canada is one of 44 nations that in 1999 signed the legally binding Anti-Bribery Convention, which established worldwide standards to criminalize the bribery of foreign officials.

Liberal MPs have used their majority on the House of Commons justice committee to shut down an opposition attempt to call Jody Wilson-Raybould to testify again on the SNC-Lavalin affair.

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.

"What they've said is they're going to go in a secret meeting next Tuesday where they can shut it down and distract from the scandal with the budget". "We will continue to work with and update the working group on the robust and independent domestic processes now underway in Canada, which the working group has recognized and encouraged".

The director of public prosecutions opted last fall not to negotiate a remediation agreement with the Quebec-based engineering giant, which would have put off a criminal trial in exchange for the company admitting wrongdoing, paying fines and allowing itself to be monitored for a period of time.

Trudeau and his staff say their only concern was for SNC-Lavalin's 9,000 jobs, which might be at risk if the company were convicted and then barred from bidding on federal contracts for up to 10 years. Jane Philpott, her close friend and cabinet ally, followed suit March 4, citing lost confidence in how the matter had been handled by the prime minister's office.

Conservative MPs have previously said a Liberal refusal to allow Wilson-Raybould to appear before the committee would be tantamount to an effort to "cover up" the issue.

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.

They were able to force the committee to meet, but couldn't control what happened when it did.

"Clearly as a matter of fairness we need to hear from Jody Wilson-Raybould", Cooper said.

"This is a very extreme move at any committee to try to stop the conversation from continuing and it's very disappointing to Canadians to see the Liberals using this tool today to end the debate, to end the possibility of Ms. Wilson-Raybould coming back before the committee", Ramsey said. "There's more questions now than ever".

The committee will reconvene on March 19 for their meeting where they will not only decide whether Wilson-Raybould will be invited back before the committee, but will also determine other witnesses they may wish to speak.

Liberal strategist Amanda Alvaro, president of the Toronto communications firm Pomp & Circumstance, said there is no benefit to bringing Wilson-Raybould back.

Thus far no Liberals have said publicly whether they will agree to call her a second time.

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