SNC-Lavalin: the government raises the privilege to Wilson-Raybould

SNC-Lavalin: le gouvernement lève le secret professionnel pour Wilson-Raybould

OTTAWA — The ex-minister, Wilson-Raybould will be able to express themselves freely : the government has lifted the obligation of professional secrecy, which prevented him from doing so. This development comes after the liberals had blocked a motion conservative calling on Justin Trudeau to testify at the standing committee on justice and human rights.

The government has published a decree authorizing “the honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould (…) to disclose to the committee ( … ), any confidential information of the Queen’s privy Council for Canada contained in the information or communications that have been the subject of direct discussions with the person in respect of the exercise of these powers while holding this position.”

Thus, the government “waives to the extent they apply, to the privilege of communications between solicitor and client and any other duty of confidentiality relevant to the government of Canada, ( … ), which have been the subject of direct discussions with the former attorney general in the lawsuit against SNC-Lavalin,” one can read there.

But, to “preserve the integrity of any civil or criminal proceedings, this permission, and this waiver shall not apply to information and communications relating to SNC-Lavalin that have been exchanged between the former attorney-general and the director of public prosecutions,” says the decree.

The prime minister had pointed out in question period that the government was prepared to waive privilege, that bound the ex-minister, so that she can “discuss the relevant folder in committee without compromising the two cases currently before the courts”, was reading it on a sheet of paper.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was in the Commons to listen to the opposition to bombard the liberals of questions about his case and that of SNC-Lavalin, Monday afternoon, was earlier sent to the chairman of the parliamentary committee, Anthony Housefather, a letter in anticipation of his visit.

“I hope to appear before the committee in the earliest possible time,” one can read in the letter dated 25 February, where the elected state of its need to learn more about “constraints” to which it may be “submitted” at the time to testify.

“The government can waive the attorney-client privilege and lift the secrecy of the cabinet. I can’t do it,” said Ms. Wilson-Raybould. It requires thirty minutes for his opening speech and said he was ready to stay as long as desired.

It was expected that the ex-minister, who has slammed the door of the Trudeau cabinet on the 12th February last, offers his version of the facts before the committee Tuesday, but its presence had not been confirmed at the time of publishing these lines, Monday night.

Motion blocked

Prior to the publication of the decree, the liberals had been defeated by a motion of a conservative stating that “the Chamber directs the prime minister to appear, testify and answer questions under oath before the committee (…) at a meeting of television two hours before the Friday, march 15, 2019”.

It was easily beaten by a score of 155 to 106, thanks to the liberal majority. This time, nobody has broken ranks with the liberals – in the past week, the backbenchers Wayne Long and Nathaniel Erskine-Smith had voted in favour of a motion by the new democrats calling for the holding of a public inquiry on the case of SNC-Lavalin.

Prime minister Trudeau was absent at the time of the vote.

The vote has found that the common front of the opposition against the liberal government does crumble not : the motion of a conservative has been approved by all elected new democrats and bloquistes who were present in the Room, and by the leader of the green Party, Elizabeth May.

Hot soup

The leader of the conservatives Andrew Scheer suggested Monday morning, during the debate on the motion of which he was patron, that we began to feel the hot soup in the corridors of the liberal. The government feels that a criminal investigation is coming”, he then advanced.

Because “what we have seen unfold before our eyes over the past two weeks is a perfect example of government corruption and business”, launched the leader of the formation.

This provoked the anger of the liberal Kevin Lamoureux. “This is not because the conservative Party, said “corruption” that it is corruption! They say that to every wind about this government”, he pestered.

In the seats, new democrats, it has continued to deplore the attacks that are directed to the place of the ex-minister of Justice and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould. Mp Tracey Ramsey spoke of a “campaign of around connotation sexist and racist”.

And the jobs?

The study committee continued Monday with the testimony of five experts in law came to provide explanations on the agreements further suspended and the doctrine Shawcross, a convention that codifies the double role of the minister of Justice and attorney general.

The parliamentary committee began last week an examination of the case of SNC-Lavalin, which has plunged the government into turmoil since the Globe and Mail wrote that the office of the prime minister to pressure Jody Wilson-Raybould to avoid a trial at the firm.

The clerk of the privy Council, Michael Wernick, said last Thursday before this committee that he had informed the attorney general of the time of the consequences that could have a lawsuit for an engineering firm in quebec on its employees, suppliers and retirees.

A guilty verdict for fraud and corruption would prevent SNC-Lavalin from bidding on government contracts in Canada for 10 years. The company seeks rather to conclude the agreement of lawsuit suspended (APS).

This mechanism, put in place under the liberals in 2018, allows you to suspend criminal proceedings against companies. In exchange, they admit the facts, and then agree to pay a financial penalty salty and cooperate with the authorities.

The leader of the conservatives Andrew Scheer has remained evasive Monday when asked what he would do to help SNC-Lavalin if he was elected prime minister in the next elections of October 2019.

“We can talk of protecting jobs, we can find solutions to ensure that workers are not punished because of the actions of the former directors of the company,” he offered in a press conference.

“But the political interference in a criminal prosecution, this is not the solution to protect jobs. We must ensure that this option is not on the table”, there chained, without specifying what could be the other avenues of solution.

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WORDING OF THE MOTION, CONSERVATIVE

That, in view of the remarks of the prime minister on Wednesday, 20 February 2019, according to which the standing committee on justice and human rights is the appropriate forum for that Canadians get answers on the case of SNC-Lavalin, and that, given its direct involvement alleged in a sustained effort to influence the criminal proceedings against SNC-Lavalin, the Chamber ordered the prime minister to appear, to testify and answer questions under oath before the standing committee on justice and human rights at a meeting of television two hours before the Friday, march 15, 2019.

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