Audio recording by Wilson-Raybould expected to be made public
Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says she has additional proof there was political interference in the SNC-Lavalin affair
March 29, 2019 11:33 am
Former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould has submitted an audio file of a recorded conversation on the SNC-Lavalin affair to the House of Commons justice committee and that recording is expected to be part of the 44 pages of additional material shared by her with the committee that is set for release this afternoon.
Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, chair of the justice committee, would not confirm the contents of the submission but said everything in it will be shared.
“I do not discuss confidential information so no, I cannot confirm what is or is not in the submission,” he said.
“But the whole submission will be made public"
He later posted a tweet confirming there will be no redactions made to the submission, which is expected by late afternoon.
Members of the committee have not yet seen the material. In cases where material is submitted in only one of the official languages, committees translate it into the other prior to public release. Sharing that material among committee members prior to translation being completed requires unanimous consent among the members.
Two Liberal members of the committee have refused to respond to the request for unanimous consent to circulate the materials internally prior to their public release.
That means members of the committee will only receive the material 30 minutes before it is released to the public.
The submission by Wilson-Raybould comes after she provided four hours of explosive testimony detailing what she described as a “consistent and sustained effort” by senior officials within government, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to pressure her into intervening in the SNC-Lavalin criminal case.
Her testimony was prompted by a report by the Globe and Mail outlining allegations of pressure on her that was published on Feb. 7, 2019.
Trudeau initially called the report “false” but later defended what he described as discussions about potential job losses if SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal engineering giant, were forced to face trial and potential conviction on the corruption and fraud charges against it.
But on Feb. 12, Wilson-Raybould resigned from his cabinet. She had been shuffled out of the attorney general portfolio the month previously and into the role of minister of veterans affairs.
She told the justice committee in her testimony last month that she believed the move was because of her refusal to take the unprecedented — but legal — step of overruling the director of public prosecutions, who had decided to proceed with criminal charges despite heavy lobbing from the company for a new legal tool called a remediation or deferred prosecution agreement.
Such a tool was created after lobbying by the company last year and would let a firm facing a reasonable chance of conviction admit wrongdoing and pay a fine.
Conviction in court could carry a 10-year ban on bidding for federal contracts, although that provision is not in the law, it is in federal procurement policies that are currently being reviewed and may be replaced by the end of April by new rules making any ban discretionary.
Wilson-Raybould said in her testimony that she made it clear her decision not to intervene was final.
Gerald Butts, former principal secretary to Trudeau and one of 11 figures named by Wilson-Raybould as pressuring her inappropriately, disputed that and said it was not possible for her to have made a final decision and that it was technically possible for her to change her mind up until a conviction was delivered.
He also says she never told him she believed the pressure was inappropriate and needed to stop.
She had previously testified she did so during a dinner at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier hotel.
The conversation is one of roughly 10 meetings and 10 phone calls detailed by Wilson-Raybould in her testimony.