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Liberals must let Wilson-Raybould come back to committee, opposition says

15 March 2019

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Bribery said it has "sent a letter to the Canadian authorities confirming its concerns".

The statement says Canada's commitment under the convention is to "prosecutorial independence in foreign bribery cases", and that political factors such as national economic interests and the identities of the company or individuals involved should have no influence on the prosecution.

OTTAWA _ Liberal MPs have used their majority on the House of Commons justice committee to shut down an opposition attempt to call Jody Wilson-Raybould to testify again on the SNC-Lavalin affair. If convicted the company faces a 10-year ban on bidding for federal contracts but a deferred prosecution agreement - a new criminal code provision included in 2018's budget bill - would allow fines and corporate integrity undertakings to supplant a trial and/or prosecution.

Ramsey says Trudeau needs to extend the waiver of confidentiality he granted Wilson-Raybould so the former star cabinet minister is free to talk about why she was shuffled out of the justice role in mid-January, and why she ultimately resigned from cabinet altogether.

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Trudeau's version, consistent among his inner-circle that have spoken publicly, is overtures Wilson-Raybould recounts consitute normal cabinet business considering the thousands of jobs that are exposed. "If they were going to let her speak, they could have done it today".

Treasury Board president Jane Philpott resigned from cabinet last week, citing a lack of confidence in how Trudeau had handled the matter.

"We've heard the prime minister speak very freely about a period of time that Ms. Wilson-Raybould has not been able to speak about", Ramsey said. He said last week he resigned not because he had done anything wrong, but because he felt if he stayed on after Wilson-Raybould resigned it would look as though Trudeau was choosing him, a longtime friend, over a minister.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper said he wants to call other Trudeau advisers Wilson-Raybould named as people who approached her on the SNC-Lavalin matter.

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He even suggested they might consider inviting the former justice minister to appear as a witness before other committees.

But Cooper said the chief desire is for Wilson-Raybould to be brought back to answer questions that arose from Butts's testimony.

The waiver does not, however, allow Wilson-Raybould to speak about the period after she was shuffled from Justice to Veterans Affairs, including her conversations with Trudeau about why she quit cabinet.

Almost every day since the scandal broke, Abacus Data has been in the field with a poll asking Canadians which party they intend to vote for, who they'd prefer as Prime Minister, how they feel about Trudeau, personally, and how closely they are following the scandal.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already said the existing waiver allowed Wilson-Raybould "to address this matter expansively and in detail", which he said is what she did two weeks ago. She said there is now a reasonable understanding of what happened and demanding Wilson-Raybould reappear is more about continuing the drama than trying to get more information.

Liberals must let Wilson-Raybould come back to committee, opposition says