Wilson-Raybould Offers Committee More Information

OTTAWA - In a new letter to the House Justice Committee, former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says that she will provide additional evidence and a written statement on the SNC-Lavalin affair, even though its probe has concluded.

"In the course of my testimony there was a request for me to provide further information... Having taken that request under advisement, I will provide copies of messages that I referred to in my testimony," Wilson-Raybould said in her letter.

This additional information will include copies of text messages and emails that she referenced during her four hours of stunning testimony before the committee on Feb. 27. Typically, any formal submissions to House committees are made public.

During her appearance before the committee, she alleged that she faced high-level "veiled threats" and political interference in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. She said she was subjected to a months-long "sustained effort" from nearly a dozen senior government officials to pressure her into doing what she could as then-attorney general to instruct federal prosecutors to drop the criminal prosecution of the Quebec construction and engineering giant and pursue a remediation agreement instead.

After hearing a contradicting story from a former top Trudeau adviser, and repeat appearances from senior bureaucrats, the Liberal MPs on the House Justice Committee shut down their study of the matter this week. They said that they'd heard all they needed to and that Canadians can decide for themselves whether they think there was any wrongdoing, something Trudeau continues to deny. Opposition parties have labelled the closure of the hearing a cover-up.

Committee chair and Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said that just because Wilson-Raybould will be coming forward with new information, it doesn’t mean they need to reopen the study.

Wilson-Raybould's letter comes after fellow former Liberal cabinet minister Jane Philpott made waves on Parliament Hill when she told Maclean’s magazine that that there is "much more to the story that needs to be told". Philpott, who shortly followed Wilson-Raybould out the cabinet doors, citing a loss of confidence in the way the government is handling the scandal, said in the interview that she believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his top staff have been trying to "shut down" the story.

It remains unclear whether the committee will issue a formal report on this study. Housefather said that so far, the committee has not approved a motion to issue a report.

The opposition has used several procedural mechanisms to try to push Trudeau to waive all possible confidences, but now Liberal MPs are publicly stating that Wilson-Raybould, and Philpott should she desire, already have all the protection they need: Parliamentary privilege. "I think to clear the air, to everybody’s satisfaction, and for them, is to go on in to the House of Commons," Liberal MP Judy Sgro told reporters.
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