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

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

Just Posted

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers sees 37 per cent increase in tips in 2019

The non-profit takes anonymous tips from the public, brings information to police

Esquimalt, T’Sou-ke nations join more than 50 other members in South Island Prosperity Partnership

Chiefs look forward to creating ‘sustainable future’ for next generations

Almost 150 calls of service for Westshore Towing during snowstorm

Most calls were from Sooke, Metchosin and Highlands

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Most Read