Highly detailed, well-sourced, powerful testimony from Jody Wilson-Raybould

2019-02-28

in Canada, Law, Politics

“For a period of approximately four months between September and December 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the Attorney General of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with SNC-Lavalin. These events involved 11 people (excluding myself and my political staff) – from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, and the Office of the Minister of Finance.”

“In my view, the communications and efforts to change my mind on this matter should have stopped. Various officials also urged me to take partisan political considerations into account – which it was clearly improper for me to do. … We either have a system that is based on the rule of law, the independence of the prosecutorial functions, and respect for those charged to use their discretion and powers in particular ways – or we do not. While in our system of government policy oriented discussion amongst people at earlier points in this conversation may be appropriate, the consistent and enduring efforts, even in the face of judicial proceedings on the same matter – and in the face of a clear decision of the DPP and the AG – to continue and even intensify such efforts raises serious red flags in my view.”

Read the full text of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s statement to the House of Commons justice committee

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

. February 28, 2019 at 2:57 am

Sept. 4, 2018: Ms. Wilson-Raybould and her chief of staff, Jessica Prince, are in Australia following a meeting of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing countries when they receive a decision by Kathleen Roussel, the director of public prosecutions (DPP). The note said the DPP is of the view that prosecutors will not seek a negotiated settlement in relation to criminal charges SNC-Lavalin faces and that no public announcement will be made.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-timeline-wilson-raybould-outlines-her-months-of-pressure-from-trudeau/

. February 28, 2019 at 3:02 am

Wilson-Raybould’s place in Liberal party at risk after SNC-Lavalin testimony

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reconsidering Jody Wilson-Raybould’s future in the Liberal party after his former attorney general accused him, his senior staff and the country’s top civil servant of putting her under relentless pressure to interfere in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin and refused to say whether she still believes in his leadership.

. February 28, 2019 at 3:34 am

If you were watching Wilson-Raybould’s appearance Wednesday afternoon, that cracking sound you heard was Liberal Party unity breaking up. The former attorney general remains a member of the Liberal caucus, and a candidate at the next election. But it is a malignant fidelity. Her testimony has done more harm to her party’s chances of re-election than anything achieved by a hapless opposition. It seems hard to see how she can continue to sit as a Liberal member, far less run again.

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/john-ivison-wilson-rayboulds-convincing-testimony-may-cost-trudeau-his-job/

. February 28, 2019 at 3:38 am

It is not possible to believe any more, if it ever was, that she might have just misinterpreted an innocent remark. Either she is flat out lying about the whole business, or the prime minister and his people are. It is difficult to see why she would. It is easy to see why they might. If there was any notion, likewise, that the bleeding in this government would be cauterized by the resignation of the prime minister’s principal secretary, Gerry Butts, that, too, has expired.

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/andrew-coyne-on-jody-wilson-raybould-damning-testimony-from-a-principled-witness

. March 4, 2019 at 1:42 pm

When the government inserted the DPAs into the Criminal Code, how did it announce the move? With a single paragraph on page 202 of the 2018 federal budget document, under the catchy heading “Addressing corporate integrity.” You really had to go to page 202 to learn anything at all about the scheme. Finance Minister Bill Morneau made no mention of it in his nationally televised budget speech.

And how was the DPA described on page 202, for insatiably curious or insomniac readers who might stumble across it? As a way to get tough on corporate wrongdoers. DPAs would be “an additional tool to hold corporate offenders to account,” the document said. They would “sanction criminal conduct appropriately and deter wrongdoing.”

Now, a federal budget document is a bulky thing, drafted and reviewed by dozens of government employees. They found no room in its 367 pages to mention that SNC had been pleading for this tough accountability crackdown for months. At massive expense. As a handy rule of thumb, corporate offenders don’t usually plead for additional tools to hold them to account.

. March 4, 2019 at 4:11 pm

The whole affair has seen Canadians—voters and members of parliament alike—furiously Googling an arcane element of British-style democracy: the Shawcross Doctrine.

Named for Sir Hartley Shawcross, a former attorney general of England and Wales, the doctrine maintains that there must be a divide between political considerations and the decision to prosecute, or not prosecute, a crime. An attorney general’s decision on whether to proceed with a prosecution can be informed by their cabinet colleagues, Shawcross said, but those conversations “must not consist in telling him what that decision ought to be.” The decision, in effect, is the attorney general’s and the attorney general’s alone.

It seems Trudeau rode roughshod over that principle. That’s prompted a wider conversation about splitting the role of justice minister and attorney general.

The Shawcross Doctrine may be on few voters’ minds when they trudge to the ballot box in October. But the scandal has inflamed political tensions in an array of other ways.

Trudeau has already been struggling to mitigate growing resentment for his government in oil-rich Alberta, which has felt the pinch of slumping oil prices, exacerbated by a price discount against American crude. It doesn’t help that Alberta, and much of Western Canada, has distrusted the Liberal Party since Trudeau’s father was at its helm, angry at an energy policy believed to benefit Central Canada at the West’s expense. Add in the fact that Wilson-Raybould hails from British Columbia, and the potential political impact from this East-West divide only grows.

. March 5, 2019 at 2:59 pm
. March 5, 2019 at 3:17 pm

Trudeau considering a statement of contrition over SNC-Lavalin

Source said Trudeau had no warning of Philpott’s resignation

. March 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm

Cohen: Philpott and Wilson-Raybould have put the achievements of the Trudeau government at real risk

Maybe these cabinet resignations are about impulse, affront and self-righteousness – how to feel sanctimonious today while things fall apart tomorrow.

. March 18, 2019 at 3:25 pm

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