Wilson-Raybould to testify in front of Justice committee Wednesday

Privy Council Clerk Michael WernickCHRIS WATTIE  REUTERS

Privy Council Clerk Michael WernickCHRIS WATTIE REUTERS

The order, which Trudeau says was not issued lightly, is outlined in an Orders in Council decision online.

During her testimony, which drew gasps from opposition MPs and the overflow crowd of observers in the committee room, Wilson-Raybould said she believes Trudeau shuffled her out the prestigious justice portfolio in mid-January because she refused to give in to pressure - and even "veiled threats" - to order a halt to a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

Jody Wilson-Raybould is speaking publicly for the first time since the SNC-Lavalin scandal broke when she testifies before the House Justice Committee, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says she'll be able to speak "fully" to whether or not she felt pressured.

In response to her testimony, Trudeau said he completely disagrees with how Wilson-Raybould characterized the events, and maintained that he and his staff "always acted appropriately and professionally". After 30 days it's only $5 a month.

Wernick told MPs at that committee that he used his meeting to "convey consequences" of not offering a remediation agreement to Wilson-Raybould. She said she was convinced the SNC-Lavalin case had prompted her demotion.

"It's important that people get an opportunity to testify, or share their point of view, at committee", Trudeau told reporters as he headed in to the weekly Liberal cabinet meeting.

"I was sickened and appalled by [Wilson-Raybould's] story of inappropriate and frankly, borderline illegal pressure brought to bear on her by the highest levels of Justin Trudeau's government", Scheer said. Those allow companies to avoid a criminal prosecution in exchange for accepting responsibility for wrongdoing, paying fines and reparation to any victims, relinquishing any financial benefit from the actions and showing changes to prevent misdeeds from being repeated.

But he stressed that Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from cabinet February 12, was never unduly pressured.

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Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould walks to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt has speculated that it might have been only after Wilson-Raybould was demoted to be minister of veterans affairs that she realized she was being punished for refusing to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin, a kind of plea bargain that would require the company to pay restitution but avoid the potentially crippling impact of a criminal conviction.

Trudeau's principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigned a week later, but insisted neither he nor anyone else in the PMO had unduly pressured Wilson-Raybould.

She cited several senior officials in the offices of Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau as among those weighing in.

The Conservative leader also called for Wernick to resign and encouraged the Liberal cabinet, which is scheduled to present a federal budget next month, to find a way to govern the country in a non-partisan way without the prime minister. But she said Trudeau and Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick continued to express concerns, with Wernick noting that Quebec was holding an election in a couple of weeks and Trudeau stressing that he is himself a Quebec MP.

"How she interprets or perceives those conversations she can tell you". Butts has confirmed Wilson-Raybould raised the SNC-Lavalin matter briefly and he advised her to speak to Wernick.

Her chief of staff, Jessica Prince, was eventually summoned to an urgent December 18 meeting with Trudeau's chief of staff, Katie Telford, and his then principal secretary, Butts.

Trudeau did not dispute that the SNC-Lavalin case was a hot topic of discussion with Wilson-Raybould.

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