Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould leaves the Parliament buildings following Question Period in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 19, 2019. The House of Commons justice committee will begin hearings today into the allegation that the Prime Minister’s Office improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

The House of Commons justice committee will begin hearings today into the allegation that the Prime Minister’s Office improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

Wilson-Raybould herself has been invited to testify, but likely won’t appear until Monday and, even then, it’s unclear if she’ll have much to say.

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment on the affair since the allegation from anonymous sources first surfaced in a Globe and Mail report almost two weeks ago.

The Liberal-dominated committee wants to hear first from academics about the legal principles underpinning the affair, which prompted Wilson-Raybould’s resignation from cabinet last week and the departure this week of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most trusted aide, principal secretary Gerald Butts.

Those principles include the recently adopted legal provision allowing for remediation agreements in corporate corruption cases, a form of plea bargain in which a company pays restitution but avoids a criminal conviction that could bankrupt it.

They also include the so-called Shawcross doctrine that spells out the degree to which an attorney general may consult with cabinet colleagues about a prosecution.

Opposition members of the justice committee maintain the hearings will be meaningless unless Trudeau waives solicitor-client privilege to allow Wilson-Raybould to speak freely and unless senior officials in his office, including Butts, are called to testify.

READ MORE: Opposition pushes for inquiry in SNC-Lavalin affair

MPs are also scheduled to vote today on a non-binding NDP motion calling for a public inquiry into the affair and the waiving of solicitor-client privilege.

Conservative senators, meanwhile, have also introduced their own motion calling for an inquiry by the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee.

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

$10,000 for Gold Rush Trails marketing video and Billie Bouchie Day celebrations

‘We were very impressed by the calibre of both projects’

Walmart pharmacy offering free blood pressure and glucose screening tests Saturday

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walmart pharmacists will be answering lakecity’s health realated questions

Williams Lake Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists to host knitting event Saturday

Knitting group meeting Saturday, Jan. 18 at the arts centres in Williams Lake

Cold weather has School District 27 cancelling some Chilcotin bus routes Friday

It is -30C at Tatlayoko Lake Friday morning, Jan. 17

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Most Read