Gerald Butts, former principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, prepares to appear before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights regarding the SNC Lavalin Affair, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts says he has provided notes and text messages to the House of Commons justice committee in response to evidence filed last week by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould on the ongoing SNC-Lavalin controversy. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Gerald Butts provides notes, texts to justice committee on SNC-Lavalin

This in response to material filed last week by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts said on Sunday he had provided information to the House of Commons justice committee in response to material filed last week by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould on the ongoing SNC-Lavalin controversy.

Butts said in a tweet his information comprised notes and texts of exchanges between himself and Wilson-Raybould.

READ MORE: Wilson-Raybould: I recorded phone call out of fear it would be ‘inappropriate’

On Friday, the justice committee released a 43-page brief from Wilson-Raybould that includes emails and text messages. In addition, the former justice minister also provided a 17-minute audio clip of a secretly recorded telephone call between herself and Michael Wernick, the country’s top public servant.

In the Dec. 19 call, Wernick repeatedly asks her why she isn’t using all the tools at her disposal on the SNC-Lavalin case. She pushes back, saying she would not override the decision of the director of public prosecutions to pursue criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin for bribery and fraud.

Wernick told her the prime minister was “quite determined” on the matter and would likely “find a way to get it done one way or another.”

In her written submission, Wilson-Raybould acknowledged recording the conversation was an “extraordinary and otherwise inappropriate step,” but said she felt it necessary to have an exact record of what was discussed.

Wernick declined to comment but his lawyer, Frank Addario, said recording the call was “inappropriate.”

The former attorney general testified earlier this month that she believes she was moved out of the prestigious justice portfolio to Veterans Affairs in a mid-January cabinet shuffle as punishment for refusing to succumb to relentless pressure last fall from Trudeau, his senior staff, Wernick and others to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case. She resigned from cabinet a month later.

Butts, who resigned as Trudeau’s principle secretary last month, told the justice committee he believes nobody from the Prime Minister’s Office did anything wrong and that Wilson-Raybould never complained about facing undue pressure.

Butts submitted the additional material to support his own version of events to the committee on Sunday. The documents must be translated into French and their release approved by panel members before public release.

Chairman Anthony Housefather said Sunday he was not exactly sure how long this process could take, but said it would normally be a day or two.

Speaking in Brampton, Ont., Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Butts’ latest action shows the Liberal government was too quick to shut down the justice committee investigation into whether undue political pressure was brought to bear on the attorney general over prosecuting SNC-Lavalin.

“Beyond a shadow of a doubt now, we know that there was high-level attempt to interfere in this process,” Scheer said. “Now we’re calling on the ethics committee to allow an investigation to proceed.”

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Oak Bay doctor the pulse of Island’s heart failure clinic

Dr. Elizabeth Swiggum has headed heart clinic for past 14 years

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines Oak Bay dad accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Buffy the audience slayer: St. Marie coming to Sidney

Powerful live shows a big part of veteran Canadian folk star’s success; she’s here Sept. 26-27

Annual study shows high satisfaction with B.C. post-secondary schools

Study also reveals men tend to dominate higher paying jobs in the trades

Pavement work to close Fort Rodd Hill

Historic site scheduled to be closed to public Sept. 3 to 6

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Most Read