Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould leaves the Parliament buildings following Question Period in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 19, 2019. The House of Commons justice committee will begin hearings today into the allegation that the Prime Minister’s Office improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

The House of Commons justice committee will begin hearings today into the allegation that the Prime Minister’s Office improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

Wilson-Raybould herself has been invited to testify, but likely won’t appear until Monday and, even then, it’s unclear if she’ll have much to say.

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment on the affair since the allegation from anonymous sources first surfaced in a Globe and Mail report almost two weeks ago.

The Liberal-dominated committee wants to hear first from academics about the legal principles underpinning the affair, which prompted Wilson-Raybould’s resignation from cabinet last week and the departure this week of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most trusted aide, principal secretary Gerald Butts.

Those principles include the recently adopted legal provision allowing for remediation agreements in corporate corruption cases, a form of plea bargain in which a company pays restitution but avoids a criminal conviction that could bankrupt it.

They also include the so-called Shawcross doctrine that spells out the degree to which an attorney general may consult with cabinet colleagues about a prosecution.

Opposition members of the justice committee maintain the hearings will be meaningless unless Trudeau waives solicitor-client privilege to allow Wilson-Raybould to speak freely and unless senior officials in his office, including Butts, are called to testify.

READ MORE: Opposition pushes for inquiry in SNC-Lavalin affair

MPs are also scheduled to vote today on a non-binding NDP motion calling for a public inquiry into the affair and the waiving of solicitor-client privilege.

Conservative senators, meanwhile, have also introduced their own motion calling for an inquiry by the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

NDP Leader Rachel Notley stops in Red Deer on campaign trail

Notley promises hospital expansion, cath lab, pipelines and energy industry expansion

Lacombe’s CACHS Knights girls come up just short at Provincials

Cold shooting second half prevents Lacombe girls from medal round

Lacombe athletes compete at largest North American cheer event

25,000 athletes were in Dallas in late February

Blackfalds advises residents to watch for spring thaw conditions

Public Works crews are attending to those services affected

WATCH: ‘Napalm Girl’ discusses journey from hatred to forgiveness in Lacombe

Burman University’s Herr Lecture Series welcomed Kim Phuc Phan Thi to Lacombe

Another gun seized by police in Wetaskiwin

Maskwacis RCMP arrest two youths, seize firearm in Wetaskiwin

Sundre RCMP looking for 4 missing bison

A Sundre bison rancher is missing four bison from January and RCMP ask for help from the public

Targeted methane emission cut rules estimated to save billions, says CERI study

Federal government has proposed regulations for methane emission reductions from oil and gas sector

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Politicians hitting the road for votes in Alberta election campaign

NDP Leader Rachel Notley and United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney have officially launched campaigns

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death seeking full parole

The trial heard that Ryan was dead well before his mother called 911 to say he had stopped breathing

Starbucks to test recyclable cups, redesign stores in B.C., U.S. cities

The company also said it plans to redesign its stores as it adapts to increasing mobile pick-up and delivery orders

In pre-election budget, Liberals boost infrastructure cash to cities, broadband

The budget document says the Liberals have approved more than 33,000 projects, worth about $19.9 billion in federal financing

Most Read