Liberals get ‘one last chance’ to answer SNC-Lavalin questions in ‘parliamentary setting’: Scheer
Watch the West Block at 11 A.M. EST on Sunday for the full interview with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is warning of consequences if Liberal members of the House of Commons justice committee refuse to call key political figures as witnesses in the SNC-Lavain affair when they meet again next week.
In an interview airing Sunday with the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, Scheer said the opposition is still “holding out hope” that the Liberal members on Tuesday will allow an expanded list of witnesses to be called after they blocked attempts to call senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office during an emergency meeting last week, as well as former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.
But if they don’t, he says the party will pursue other avenues to get answers.
“The truth is the best defence for people who have nothing to hide,” he said.
“The Liberals will have one last chance in a parliamentary setting to allow the light of day to be shone on this very serious scandal.”
WATCH: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says an upcoming justice committee meeting will be “one last chance” for the Liberals to explain the SNC-Lavalin affair in a “parliamentary setting”
Scheer did not specify what options outside of a parliamentary setting his party would pursue although judicial inquiries and referral to the RCMP have been among the questions posed — without clear answers — to himself and various members of his party.
WATCH BELOW: ‘There’s something there’ — Conservative MPs argue why they want Wilson-Raybould to testify
For the past week, opposition parties have hammered the government for a clear explanation of allegations contained in a bombshell Globe and Mail report. It quoted unnamed sources who said senior officials pressured Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the decision of public prosecutors not to offer Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin a “remediation agreement” or “deferred prosecution agreement.”
Such a deal would have saved the company, which faces charges of corruption and fraud, from a criminal trial and potential conviction.
If convicted, the company would be banned from bidding on government contracts for a decade.
WATCH BELOW: Conservatives criticize motion for omitting key witnesses in SNC-Lavalin case
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the report “false” and said there were never any directions made to Wilson-Raybould to come to any particular decision.
However, he has acknowledged the matter came up in conversations both around the cabinet table and between the former attorney general and himself.
In those conversations, Trudeau says Wilson-Raybould asked if he would be directing her to intervene in the decision not to offer a deal to SNC-Lavalin.
Trudeau says he told her the decision was “hers alone.”
But he refused on Friday to answer the question of whether Wilson-Raybould may have felt pressured, even if he or his staff were not aware of it.
WATCH BELOW: Jody Wilson-Raybould ‘still attorney general’ had Scott Brison not resigned, Trudeau says
He has consistently said she had a responsibility to tell him if that was the case, and that she did not.
Wilson-Raybould says she is bound by solicitor-client privilege and cannot speak about the matter.
But she has hired a former Supreme Court justice to help her determine whether there is anything she can legally say on the issue.
Scheer reiterated calls for Trudeau to waive solicitor-client privilege and let her answer questions.
“I’d like to hear that from Ms. Wilson-Raybould herself,” Scheer said. “I don’t take Justin Trudeau’s word when it comes to his ethics scandals.”
The ethics commissioner investigation into the allegations marks the fifth ethics investigation of the Trudeau Liberals since they were elected in 2015.
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