According to Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault, the tape released Friday of a conversation between former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and parliamentary clerk Michael Wernick served as a “confirmation of what we already knew.”
“The prime minister’s been very clear that there was an erosion of trust here. Really good working relationships broke down. But even in yesterday’s, you know, submission to the justice committee, what’s clear is that nothing illegal took place,” Boissonnault told Global’s Mercedes Stephenson in this week’s episode of The West Block.
Global News coverage of the SNC-Lavalin affair
He added that after hearing 10 witnesses through 13 hours of testimony, SNC-Lavalin will go to trial and former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan is going to investigate whether the attorney general and the justice minister roles should be split up, neither of which amounts to new information in the case.
Stephenson countered that Wernick told Wilson-Raybould during the conversation, which she secretly recorded in December, that he would be reporting their discussion back to the prime minister. However, in a statement recently released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed to have never spoken to Wernick about his conversation with Wilson-Raybould.
“The prime minister’s statement was very clear yesterday that the conversation between the clerk and the former attorney general wasn’t communicated to the prime minister or the team and so that’s an important fact,” Boissonnault said.
More Global News coverage of Jody Wilson-Raybould and SNC-Lavalin scandal
“I think the prime minister’s been clear and we’ve heard other witnesses say ‘look, we were talking about jobs,'” the Liberal MP added. “We’re talking about a potential head office leaving. I know that if this were an Alberta company if this was an oil and gas company, you can certainly bet that people would be, you know, defending the company trying to look at any particular.”
Stephenson interrupted to add that in Alberta, 100,000 jobs had already been lost in the oil and gas industry with little federal action to intervene.
Stephenson added that if everything had been above-board, why does Wilson-Raybould continue to insist she’s uncomfortable with the nature of her conversations with members of the PMO surrounding the SNC-Lavalin case?
“Well, we have uncomfortable conversations on Parliament Hill all the time. Our jobs are pressure,” Boissonnault answered.
He said that upon receiving a Section 13 notice — a memo from the director of prosecutions inquiring whether she should issue an invitation to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin — Wilson-Raybould did not set up a meeting with the prime minister to clarify that she didn’t require any additional input on the case.