PM apologizes for not condemning 'unacceptable' personal attacks against Wilson-Raybould

Liberal MP Jody Wilson Raybould leaves the Parliament buildings following Question Period in Ottawa Feb. 19 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Adrian Wyld

Liberal MP Jody Wilson Raybould leaves the Parliament buildings following Question Period in Ottawa Feb. 19 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS Adrian Wyld

Her comments were greeted with applause from opposition benches and added fuel to their demands that Trudeau waive solicitor-client privilege to allow Wilson-Raybould to finally speak freely.

"I would ask that the record show that I abstained from voting on that matter". Though, he joined his caucus and voted against an independent public inquiry.

It was two weeks later that Trudeau himself met with Wilson-Raybould to discuss the SNC-Lavalin file.

"I categorically deny the accusation that I or anyone else in (Trudeau's) office pressured Ms. Wilson-Raybould", Butts said in a statement when he resigned on Monday.

Unless those two accounts are glaringly at odds, that may well be the end of the matter and we are all going to wonder whether it was worth paralyzing the government of Canada for much of the past month.

The date for her committee appearance has not yet been set but it is the appropriate venue to investigate who said what, when and to whom. "The parliamentary committee is seized with it", Trudeau said.

Canada's Ethics Commissioner has opened an investigation into the claims.

New Democrat justice critic Murray Rankin said it appears that Wilson-Raybould and the government have reached some sort of internal resolution to the affair that will allow her to remain in the Liberal caucus and testify to the committee without saying anything damaging to the government.

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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.

The Liberal House Justice Committee members have twice shot down opposition requests to call anyone from the PMO, or Butts, to appear, though that's now an avenue of inquiry that Conservative senators are keen to see revived in the Upper Chamber.

"We'll be hearing from her, we'll be hearing from experts, we'll be hearing from a range of people".

The vote came a couple of hours after Wilson-Raybould attended her first Liberal caucus meeting since the furor over SNC-Lavalin erupted, prompting her resignation from cabinet last week and the departure of Trudeau's principal secretary, Gerald Butts, this week. "I can assure all Canadians - that unlike the leader of the opposition - we will always stand up for good jobs right across this country every step of the way while making sure we respect the independence of the judicial system", Trudeau said. Trudeau is also seeking advice from the government's lawyer, Lametti, about the potential to waive solicitor-client privilege in this case.

"The way in which this story has unfolded - with nearly daily changes to the Prime Minister's version of events, with high-profile resignations, with anonymously sourced smear campaigns, and with co-ordinated cover-up manoeuvring - suggests this is not an ordinary political scandal", Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said in the Commons.

"On the basis of what I have heard I am satisfied", Goodale said when asked if he is confident that nothing untoward happened after hearing from Wilson-Raybould.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he took the opportunity to apologize to his former minister for being too slow to denounce anonymous comments and editorial cartoons about Wilson-Raybould that some considered racist and sexist.

Veteran MP John McKay sounded like a kid that had been ordered to eat his Brussel sprouts as he said, "Everything's fine", while leaving the caucus meeting.

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