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Opposition accuses Liberals of 'coverup' at justice committee

16 March 2019

Justin Trudeau's Liberal party has come under fire for preventing the former attorney general from testifying again to parliament, further intensifying a political crisis that has engulfed the Canadian prime minister and his government. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre claimed yesterday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is directing the Liberal members and said it should be called the "Justin committee" rather than the "justice committee".

Opposition members of the House of Commons justice committee leapt up from their seats and shouted "coverup" and "shame" Wednesday after Liberals voted to adjourn an emergency meeting they requested.

"I've never been so disgusted by the conduct of my Liberal colleagues", Conservative MP Michael Cooper said. Text of the opposition-backed motion asked for her to appear "no later" than March 14.

They also want to speak with more people from the Prime Minister's Office, specifically more of the top aides Wilson-Raybould has said were involved in pressuring her not to pursue criminal prosecution of the Quebec company on bribery charges.

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"The committee has already expressed its wishes on March 6 to have this particular hearing on March 19 so it's as simple as that", he said as he left the room.

Poilievre said it wasn't fair that Butts got to speak about things that happened between the time Wilson-Raybould was shuffled to Veterans Affairs in January and the day she quit cabinet a month later, while the former minister herself felt bound by cabinet secrecy obligations.

In her February 27 committee appearance, Wilson-Raybould claimed she was subjected to "consistent and sustained" efforts to pressure her into seeking a remediation agreement deal with SNC-Lavalin.

Ramsey wanted to move a motion in the committee calling for a public inquiry but debate ended abruptly.

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The scandal that is rocking the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has grown yet again.

Mrs Ramsey said: "What does this say to Canadians?" The Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development has also made a rare statement saying they are "watching" the situation which involves an worldwide incident of bribery and fraud by the Canadian-based multinational SNC Lavalin.

The opposition also points out the committee did hear a second time from Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick and deputy justice minister Nathalie Drouin, after Wilson-Raybould's first appearance raised additional questions to pose to them.

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Opposition accuses Liberals of 'coverup' at justice committee