Cameras follow Jody Wilson Raybould as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa, Wednesday February 27, 2019. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Five things in Wilson-Raybould’s written evidence on the SNC-Lavalin affair

Jody Wilson-Raybould offers written, audio evidence to the House of Commons justice committee

Five things we learned from a written and audio submission made by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to the House of Commons justice committee Friday.

On the cabinet shuffle

Trudeau’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts told the justice committee Wilson-Raybould was shuffled because they needed someone to fill in Indigenous Affairs and she refused. He said a minister has to serve at the pleasure of the prime minister and a refusal to be moved couldn’t stand.

Wilson-Raybould says she told Trudeau and his former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, she couldn’t understand the rationale for being part of the January cabinet shuffle, and that she had told them many times in the past that she would never take on a job of “delivering services to Indians” under the Indian Act and was shocked that she was then offered the Indigenous Services ministry.

Butts told the justice committee in March he didn’t know her position on that when the offer was made but acknowledged he should have known.

Wilson-Raybould also denies she ever referred to being attorney general as her “dream job” and instead said she thinks it was Butts who said it. Butts told the committee she called it her dream job when she was told she was being shuffled.

She said she took Trudeau at his word that the shuffle was not related to the SNC-Lavalin matter and agreed to take the job of veterans affairs minister, but said she made a decision to “immediately resign if the new Attorney General” issued a directive about the SNC-Lavalin case because it would confirm her suspicions she was moved for not intervening.

On her resignation from cabinet

Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet on Feb. 12, but told the justice committee in her live testimony that she couldn’t discuss the conversations she had with Trudeau on the reasons.

In her written submission, she is more clear about why she resigned, pointing to a comment Trudeau made to the media on Feb. 11.

“The Prime Minister stated publicly when issues about the propriety of the government’s conduct in relation to the SNC matter arose that my ongoing presence in Cabinet spoke for itself,” Wilson-Raybould wrote.

“I resigned the next day and I trust my resignation also speaks for itself.”

Some Liberals felt Wilson-Raybould didn’t like remediation agreements in general

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s deputy chief of staff, Justin To, in a phone call with Wilson-Raybould’s chief of staff, Jessica Prince complained that Wilson-Raybould was not intervening in the SNC-Lavalin case because she “has a philosophical problem” with remediation agreements and ”wouldn’t even use it if we could.” He calls it ironic that Wilson-Raybould is in favour of restorative justice in some sense but not for SNC-Lavalin.

Prince tells him “that is absolutely not true.”

To apologized in a follow-up email and then Prince laid out for him all the things Wilson-Raybould had done in favour of remediation agreements.

Disagreement with her deputy minister

Nathalie Drouin, the deputy minister of justice, told the justice committee that Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick, had asked her office for a briefing on the consequences, including job losses, if SNC-Lavalin did not get a remediation agreement, but that once that document was prepared, Wilson-Raybould ordered her not to give it to Wernick or anyone else in the Privy Council Office.

Wilson-Raybould denies that she ever knew about the memo or that she ordered Drouin not to hand it over to Wernick. She also says given that she had told Wernick she had made her decision she was not sure why he would have asked for such an opinion anyway.

Former prime minister Kim Campbell

Prince alleges that in a conversation with Butts, he pointed to a case involving former prime minister Brian Mulroney and the case of David Milgaard, who was wrongfully convicted for murder in 1970, and exonerated more than two decades later. Butts allegedly told Prince that Kim Campbell, who was then the attorney general, was asked by Mulroney to review the case after Mulroney met with Milgaard’s mother. Campbell, who would replace Mulroney as prime minister in 1993, is reported to have told Mulroney she couldn’t because it would interfere in an independent process.

Wilson-Raybould says she fact-checked the story with Campbell in Vancouver the next day over coffee, adding the former Tory prime minister had a “vivid memory of the case.”

“She categorically denied what Mr. Butts had said and was quite offended and outraged by the comments. She adamantly denied the characterization not only of her as the Attorney General, but also of her former boss, Prime Minister Mulroney,” Wilson-Raybould wrote.

Mulroney was “too good a lawyer to intervene improperly in the matter,” Wilson-Raybould recounted Campbell telling her.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pink Shirt Day uplifting for West Shore RCMP

Members of the West Shore RCMP have scheduled a variety of activities with students Feb. 26

Scarlet fever reported at Victoria elementary school

Parents advised to look for symptoms of ‘strawberry tongue’ and rash

Saanich dog walkers react to potential review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches

Focus should have remained on migratory birds, not on dog behaviour, says Cadboro Bay dog walker

No dogs allowed off-leash at Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford

New sign placed by Metchosin Farmers Institute on Wednesday, Feb. 19

North Saanich’s Deep Cove Market up for sale for almost $1.8 million

Long-time owner Rosemary Scott hopes the public will understand her decision

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read