Jody Wilson-Raybould suggests she was threatened and pressured by PMO
Jody Wilson-Raybould testified earlier today in front of the justice committee that there were “veiled threats” regarding SNC-Lavalin during her time Attorney General.
She noted that she kept explicit notes of this over multiple months and attempted to speak with members of the PMO and cabinet on multiple occasions.
Her statement comes shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau partially waived her solicitor-client privilege which barred her from speaking on the issue.
Jody Wilson-Raybould testimony
While speaking to the justice committee, the former Justice Minister claimed that for about 4 months, from September to December 2018, there was a sustained effort by 11 people to get a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) for SNC-Lavalin.
Wilson-Raybould was told to consider the fact that it was a Quebec election year, and she was apparently warned not to get into a “collision” with Trudeau during one of the meetings.
Wilson-Raybould related to the justice committee an encounter with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Wilson-Raybould asked Trudeau directly while looking him in the eyes.
“I asked are you politically interfering with my role, my decision as attorney general?” she said.
“No, no, no we just need to find a solution,” allegedly replied Justin Trudeau.
She continued to say that the Clerk of the Privy Office brought up job losses regarding the SNC-Lavalin prosecution during a following meeting.
She called the interventions and meetings a “recurring theme” despite her insistence on her responsibility as the attorney general.
Wilson-Raybould insisted that she would not be pursuing a deferred prosecution agreement. She pointed out during one of the encounters that the government was interfering in her choice.
According to her, they suggested they would hire an “eminent person” to help advise her on her decision despite having already made one.
When commenting on her state of mind during her tenure, “various officials also urged me to take partisan political implications into account,” said Wilson-Raybould.
“The consistent and enduring effort raises serious red flags in my view,” said Wilson-Raybould “Yet this is what continued to happen.”
“On Dec 18, 2018 my Chief of Staff was summoned to a meeting with Katie Telford and Gerald Butts. They wanted to know where I was on finding a solution.”
“They referenced a possible call with the prime minister and the clerk the next day.”
Interference with SNC-Lavalin and the Trudeau government
Wilson-Raybould read from a transcript during a meeting with members from the PMO.
“There is no solution here that does not involve some interference” said Gerald Butts in a meeting with Wilson-Raybould’s chief of staff. “We don’t want to debate legalities,” said Katie Telford in the same meeting.
Throughout her testimony, the former Justice Minister outlined several instances where she felt that the Prime Minister’s Office and others pressured her into intervening on behalf of SNC-Lavalin despite her constant refusal to do so.
Wilson-Raybould compared her situation to the Saturday Night Massacre, the famous incident during the Nixon Presidency when Nixon attempted to avoid impeachment by ordering Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox.
When Richardson refused, a series of firings occurred and eventually led to Nixon’s downfall. The implication seemed to be that something similar to Watergate was about to take place in Canada.
“It has always been my view that the Attorney General of Canada must be nonpartisan” said Wilson-Raybould, “and in this respect always be willing to speak truth to power.”
You can view the live speech here.
This is a breaking news article and will be updated.
While our prime minister can survive a blackface scandal, the same can’t be said for these pumpkins.
Bed Bath & Beyond has removed all black Jack-o’-lanterns from their shelves after a News 12 uncovered complaints that a law firm’s display had generated outrage.
The niche jack-o-lanterns are incredible festive, adding a moderate touch of Gothic to the already dark holiday.
However, it’s 2019, and some colours must not be appropriated. Due to complaints from community members, the plastic pumpkins were removed from the Feerick, Nugent, MacCartney Law Offices in Nyack to take the pumpkins down less than 48 hours after setting them up.
“We understand that someone complained about them and so once we got word of that we immediately took them down,” says law firm partner Mary Marzolla.
“We represent people of all colors and faiths, and we would never do anything to exclude anyone from any community.”
The pumpkins had also been custom made, each being engraved with the name of a partner at the firm. Marzolla asserts the pumpkins were purely meant to be festive and not designed to offend anyone.
” It’s just nothing I take offense to personally, but since it did offend someone we took proactive steps to take it down,” says associate Alak Shah.
However, taking them down wasn’t enough.
Local NAACP Director Wilbur Aldridge said it shows an “extreme lack of sensitivity,” and now both attorneys have scolded Bed Bath & Beyond over their insensitivity and lack of foresight.
Bed Bath & Beyond, of course, bent the knee and capitulated, removing all of the pumpkins from sale.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has made an announcement a few minutes ago, criticizing Trudeau on his damage towards Canadian confederation. He also spoke about his thoughts on last night’s federal election, stating that it was “the largest democratic mandate in Albertan history, voting for the CPC.”
Kenney spoke of his conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where he “told the PM that behind these [election] numbers lies a sense of alienation that must be taken seriously. Many Albertans feel betrayed… we are tired”
Kenney mentioned the strain that the federal government has placed on Alberta, “There have been suicides . . . we must give frustrated Albertans an opportunity to speak their minds. Moderates are now speaking to me about separation.”
Much of this ire owes itself to Ottawa’s equalization policy, which he deemed “fundamentally unfair.” Kenney demanded that complete reform to the equalization policy would be necessary to preserve the integrity of Canada’s economic union.
Last night, the Liberal Party failed to win a single seat in Alberta, as the Conservative Party swept the province. The only seat that wasn’t won by the Conservative Party was Edmonton-Strathcona, which was won by the NDP.
No federal party achieved any broad support from greater Canadian society. The Liberals relied solely upon Laurentian metropolitan centres, the Conservatives from rural and western Canada, and the Greens and NDP merely collecting a meagre number of seats from their strongholds. Overnight, it has become apparent that Canada is a deeply divided country.
No more so is this the case than in western Canada, whose frustration with the Liberal government was most starkly visible through the popular vote. Although the Liberal Party won the greatest number of seats, the Conservative Party collected the most votes; a testament to the first-past-the-post voting system. This phenomenon came as a result of the enormous majorities the Conservatives were able to muster in southern Alberta.
Despite some frustration with Andrew Scheer’s failure to defeat Trudeau, Kenney stated it would be a big mistake to force the Conservative leader out: “Andrew has earned the trust of Canadian Conservatives and certainly the right to contest the next election… he has my unequivocal support.”
Since Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015, Alberta has long been frustrated by Ottawa’s implementation of the carbon tax and their handling of oil and gas resources within the province— so much so, that “Wexit,” or Western Exit of Canada, has been trending on Twitter.
At the end of Kenney’s press conference, he stated his intention to launch a full referendum on equalization. He stated that Alberta will force the issue of equalization “into the national agenda come hell or highwater.”
If Ottawa chooses to ignore Alberta’s pleas for fairness, Kenney sated that Justin Trudeau’s government “will pose a serious risk to national unity … I fear the alienation will go in a very serious direction.”
Stocks for the scandal-ridden Quebec-based engineering and construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. surged by nearly 15 percent on the morning after Justin Trudeau’s re-election to a Liberal minority government.
Currently, SNC-Lavalin is facing corruption charges for bribing officials while conducting business in Libya, including bribes to the son of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The company was at the heart of an election interference scandal that plagued the Trudeau government and resulted in the ejection of former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and MP Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus.
Wilson-Raybould has since been re-elected as an independent candidate for Vancouver Granville.
Trudeau was eventually found to have broken the law and had attempted to politically interfere in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin by the ethics commissioner.
Prior to Trudeau’s re-election, SNC-Lavalin stocks had faced a downturn, falling more than 60 percent over the last year.
The Liberals appear to have won the election but decisively lost the popular vote to the Conservatives.
According to Elections Canada, the Conservatives received at least 240,000 more votes than their Liberal counterparts. The Liberals still received 36 more seats than the Conservatives.
This occurred due to the high level of support in Western provinces such as Alberta for the Conservative party, reducing the overall voter efficiency in a similar vein to what occurred in the United States during their recent presidential election. There Hillary won almost 2 million more votes, largely from California, but still decisively lost the electoral college.
While the loss of the popular vote is interesting, the massive overall drop is also itself a story.
The Liberals received roughly 33.1% of the vote, which is by far the lowest level obtained by a minority government, Conservative or Liberal in the nation’s entire history.