Ex-aide to Canada PM denies pressuring former minister over SNC-Lavalin

Ex-aide to Canada PM denies pressuring former minister over SNC-Lavalin

Ex-aide to Canada PM denies pressuring former minister over SNC-Lavalin

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has cancelled his trip to Regina scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

If convicted criminally, the Montreal-based company would be banned from receiving any federal government business for a decade.

Within a few days of today's testimony, Trudeau is expected to weigh in with his take on the affair, giving the most comprehensive accounting of how the SNC-Lavalin matter was handled that he has given yet.

She claims they continued to "hound" her from September to December after she made known her decision not to offer SNC-Lavalin a deal.

As a result, Butts said Trudeau and the PMO determined that only Jane Philpott had the capacity and institutional knowledge to take over the complicated role, but anxious what signal it would send by shuffling one of its most capable ministers from the Indigenous Services portfolio.

Although the Justice Committee curiously voted down, along partisan party lines, an opposition motion to bring Wilson-Raybould back to give reply testimony, it's painfully clear that while Butts heard "jobs", she heard "election".

Wilson-Raybould has claimed that previous year she was put under pressure to order a deferred prosecution agreement for the Quebec-based engineering and construction firm's fraud and corruption charges, and that her refusal to do so led to her being shifted out of the attorney general post to the veterans' affairs portfolio.

Butts said that the prime minister meant to shuffle Wilson-Raybould to the Indigenous Services role and that when she was told of this decision during a meeting between them and Trudeau (who was on the phone), she raised concerns she was being moved because of the SNC-Lavalin decision.

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"The provincial ethics commissioner must examine all communications with the former attorney general about the prosecution, all the phone calls, meetings, emails and texts she mentioned in her testimony, and I expect the conclusion will be that several of the people involved violated section nine of the conflict of interest act, which was the focus of the complaint Democracy Watch filed".

Butts said all officials working on the file knew that the decision to direct Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel to enter into negotiations on a DPA or remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin was exclusively at the discretion of the attorney general. Trudeau denies the allegations, accusing Wilson-Raybould of mischaracterizing the events.

Butts' testimony is expected to contradict Wilson-Raybould's version of events, in some detail.

I have absolutely no doubt that Butts believes this to be true and absolutely no doubt that it is true. The only explanation I can think of is that he believed if he repeated the statement about 9,000 lost jobs roughly 9,000 times, it would become true. "My advice was that the prime minister should not set the precedent that a Cabinet minister could refuse a new position and effectively remain in one position for the life of the government".

He told The House the government's SNC-Lavalin ordeal is far from over. Federal elections are being held in October, however, and at least one poll says the Liberals are now trailing the Conservatives by a small margin.

She said she was subjected to repeated pressure to "find a solution" for the firm.

Butts said on Wednesday the SNC-Lavalin issue had nothing to do with the Cabinet shuffle, which he said was prompted by the political retirement of Treasury Board minister Scott Brison.

"When you boil it all down, all we ever asked the Attorney-General to do was to consider a second opinion".

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