Wilson-Raybould defends shining spotlight on SNC-Lavalin scandal in letter to Liberal caucus
Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould is defending shining a spotlight on the SNC-Lavalin scandal even as her Liberal colleagues speak out against her and the caucus prepares for a meeting in which they are expected to debate her fate.
In a letter shared with the Liberal caucus on Tuesday, Wilson-Raybould defended her commitment to doing politics differently, a pledge the party made in the 2015 election campaign, which rocketed them into a majority government. She said that vision for a less partisan style of governing is one she still shares but acknowledged there are many who are unhappy with her accusing the government of attempted political interference in the firm’s criminal case.
“Now I know many of you are angry, hurt and frustrated. And frankly, so am I, and I can only speak for myself,” she wrote in the letter.
“I am angry, hurt and frustrated because I feel and believe I was upholding the values that we all committed to. In giving the advice I did and taking the steps I did, I was trying to help protect the prime minister and the government from a horrible mess. I am not the one who tried to interfere in sensitive proceedings, I am not the one who made it public and I am not the one who publicly denied what happened.”
WATCH: Conservative MP accuses Liberals of smearing Jody Wilson-Raybould
Wilson-Raybould continued, adding that her colleagues have a choice to make.
“Ultimately, the choice that is before you is about what kind of party you want to be a part of, what values it will uphold, the vision that animates it and, indeed, the type of people it will attract and make it up,” she wrote.
“If, indeed, our caucus is to be a microcosm of the country, it is about whether we are a caucus of inclusion or exclusion, of dialogue and searching for understanding or shutting out challenging views and perspectives and, ultimately, of the old ways of doing business or new ones that look to the future.”
Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of her post as attorney general on Jan. 14, 2019.
She says she believes that was because she refused to order the director of public prosecutions to cut a deal to help SNC-Lavalin escape a criminal trial.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denied that, but Attorney General David Lametti, with whom Trudeau replaced Wilson-Raybould, has refused to rule out offering that same deal to the Montreal engineering firm.
Wilson-Raybould testified before the House of Commons justice committee on Feb. 27, outlining in four explosive hours the details of what she described as a “consistent and sustained effort” to pressure her into intervening in the case by Trudeau and top political staffers.
But she was not invited back to address challenges to her testimony made during an appearance by Gerald Butts, former principal secretary to Trudeau, or in secondary appearances by Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick or Deputy Attorney General Nathalie Drouin.
Instead, she submitted a package of material including a secretly recorded Dec. 19 phone call with Wernick that she said corroborated her testimony.
However, Liberal colleagues have been outspoken in their condemnation of her decision to tape the call, with Tourism Minister Melanie Joly calling it “wrong” and Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne saying Canadians “can ask legitimate questions about what are the motives for that.”
The Liberal caucus is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning in Ottawa.
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