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

BREAKING: West Fraser announces indefinite closure of Chasm

The third shift for the 100 Mile House location will also be eliminated

Enviro Club prepares for Wells Grey Provincial Park adventure

Recently students were out on Williams Lake brushing up on their canoe skills

Ranch Musings: Rebuilding ranching culture and learning to let go

Weekly column from local rancher David Zirnhelt

Williams Lake principal honoured with Governor General’s Medal

Shirley Giroux graduated from UNBC with her PhD in Health Sciences

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Most Read