After weeks of silence as the SNC-Lavalin affair swirled, Jody Wilson-Raybould is expected to tell her side of the story on Wednesday.
The chair of the House of Commons justice committee confirmed on Tuesday the former attorney general accepted an invitation to appear at 3:15 PM Wednesday to answer questions about the bombshell allegations from the Globe and Mail that she was pressured to intervene in the Montreal firm’s court case.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier on Tuesday he is “pleased” a limited waiver announced Monday night of both solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidence will allow her to speak to the allegations, which prompted the resignation of top Trudeau adviser Gerald Butts last week.
Butts has denied doing anything inappropriate.
“As we said, waiving privilege, waiving cabinet confidentiality, is something we had to take very seriously but I’m pleased Ms. Wilson-Raybould will be able to share her perspective,” Trudeau said.
WATCH: Justin Trudeau said he was ‘pleased’ that former justice minister Jody-Wilson Raybould is now able to share her perspective
Attorney General David Lametti also faced questions about the matter on his way into the meeting.
Lametti had been tasked by Trudeau with providing recommendations on whether solicitor-client privilege in the case should be waived.
Wilson-Raybould has claimed since the beginning that it is preventing her from addressing the allegations first published by The Globe and Mail three weeks ago.
“We have as a government, I believe, worked to demonstrate transparency as well as balancing the fact that there is ongoing litigation that we don’t want to compromise,” Lametti said on the way into cabinet on Tuesday.
“We feel we’ve done that with this agreement.”
WATCH : Lametti says government balancing transparency, legal rights in limited SNC-Lavalin waiver
Wilson-Raybould had been expected to testify before the House of Commons justice committee on Tuesday.
But on Monday, she sent a letter to the chair of that committee saying she wanted more time to speak directly with committee members first to go over what she can and cannot discuss, although that letter appeared to come before the announcement offering a limited waiver of privilege.
Lametti would not say whether he had any concerns she could offer a different version of events once she tells her side of the story.
“That’s not for me to determine. What we were doing is establishing a process that’s fair and open and allows transparency but that still protects the very principles we want to protect in the legal system as well as not interfering with ongoing litigation,” he said.
WATCH: Andrew Scheer calls SNC-Lavalin controversy ‘textbook’ government corruption
Lametti was also asked whether there was any discussion between himself and former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell, who Wilson-Raybould has retained to advise her on the limits of solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidence as she prepares to answer questions on the matter.
“It’s fair to say there were contacts between lawyers but I won’t go any farther than that.”
News that the government will waive solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidence came Monday night.
The limited waiver allows Wilson-Raybould to discuss the matter with the justice committee and the ethics commissioner, who is also conducting an investigation into the allegations of political interference first published by The Globe and Mail three weeks ago.
That report alleged unknown officials from the Prime Minister’s Office pressured Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the decision of the director of public prosecutions not to offer a newly-created legal tool called a remediation agreement to SNC-Lavalin to help it avoid a criminal trial.
The firm is facing charges of corruption and fraud for allegedly bribing Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011.
Wilson-Raybould reportedly refused to intervene in that decision, which was made on Sept. 4, 2018.
WATCH: Jody Wilson-Raybould to speak publicly Wednesday
Following that decision, she met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick on Sept. 17, 2018, in which the matter came up.
Her chief of staff, Jessica Prince, later met with unknown PMO officials on Dec. 18, 2018, followed by a meeting between Wilson-Raybould and Wernick on Dec. 19 in which he told the justice committee he wanted to “convey consequences” of her decision not to get involved in the case.
But Wernick insists those consequences were the economic risks to the company if it was convicted, not threats against Wilson-Raybould.
He has said he believes the meetings were all appropriate.
That testimony came on the heels of the stunning resignation on Feb. 18 of Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s principal secretary and among his closest advisers, who in his letter of resignation insisted he had done nothing inappropriate but that the speculation was a distraction from the government’s work.
WATCH: Wilson-Raybould — I hope I have the opportunity to speak my truth
Wilson-Raybould was demoted from her high-profile position of attorney general in January 2019 and moved to Minister of Veterans Affairs, one of the lowest profile positions in the federal cabinet.
Following her shuffle, she released an unprecedented public letter urging the principle of an independent judiciary free from political interference be upheld.
On Feb. 12, roughly a week after The Globe and Mail report was published, she abruptly resigned from cabinet after a statement from Trudeau in which he appeared to suggest her still being a member of cabinet indicated there was no problem in the vein of what the report suggested.
She has since stood up in the House of Commons to say she wants to the opportunity to tell her side of the story.