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Jody Wilson-Raybould to testify on SNC-Lavalin on Wednesday

Jody Wilson-Raybould to testify on SNC-Lavalin on Wednesday

Trudeau denies any improper conduct occurred and that any conversations on the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin were done with Wilson-Raybould knowing the final decision was hers alone.

Despite limits on what she can say about things that happened more recently, former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould will be able to speak freely about what pressure she felt not to pursue a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

Trudeau's remarks also do not indicate whether the government will waive solicitor-client privilege, which Wilson-Raybould has claimed is blocking her from answering questions on the allegations of attempts by the Prime Minister's Office to get her to interfere in the SNC-Lavalin court case to help the firm avoid a criminal trial, which could lead to a ban on bidding for government contracts.

"We took the unprecedented step as a government of waiving cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege so that the former attorney general could share her perspective on the Lavalin matter in a free manner because we know that people need to understand her perspective on this", Trudeau said on his way into a Liberal caucus meeting.

Wilson-Raybould accepted the committee's invitation to testify but complained in a letter to the justice committee that the waiver does not release her to talk about any communications she had after she was named minister of veteran affairs or her resignation from the Cabinet.

"There will be a clear choice to be made between the Liberal Party, this government that ... has consistently stood up for Canadian jobs, consistently defended Canadian jobs while defending our institutions and the independence of our judiciary", he said.

Using unnamed sources the newspaper said Mr Trudeau pressured Ms Wilson-Raybould to prompt the public prosecution service and consider a deferred prosecution agreement, but she resisted.

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- A December 19 conversation Wernick had with Wilson-Raybould in which he told her Trudeau and other ministers were "quite anxious" about the potential impact of a criminal conviction on the financial viability of SNC-Lavalin and on innocent employees, shareholders, pensioners and third-party suppliers who would suffer as a result.

It has been almost three weeks since the allegation first surfaced that Trudeau's office pressured Wilson-Raybould last fall to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin, rather than pursue a criminal prosecution for corruption and bribery related to government contracts in Libya. Remediation agreements are a kind of plea bargain that would require the company to pay restitution but avoid the potentially crippling impact of a criminal conviction. The newspaper indicated Wilson-Raybould resisted before she was shuffled to Veterans Affairs.

"I'm not sure how that question is relevant", she said when asked by a Liberal colleague if she still has confidence in the prime minister.

Gerald Butts, a top advisor for Trudeau and long-time friend, also resigned in the wake of the controversy surrounding the PMO and possible interference.

She disputed that version of events, saying Trudeau only offered some vague assurance after she confronted him directly at the September 17 meeting, two weeks after Roussel had decided not to consider a remediation agreement. He rejected Wilson-Raybould's version of events, saying he and his staff "always acted appropriately and professionally".

The Liberals don't appear ready to support the Conservative motion to call Trudeau to testify.

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. If the committee wants to call certain witnesses the committee members can decide who they want to hear from, he said.


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