Nation to Nation
It’s now a day after Jody Wilson-Raybould bombshell testimony at the federal justice committee Wednesday in Ottawa.
It was the first time she was able to speak openly after weeks of a scandal that never went away.
Wilson-Raybould testified Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his staff applied sustained pressure to intervene in the bribery case of SNC-Lavalin.
She refused, and believes that’s why she was shuffled from justice minister and attorney general to veteran’s affairs before she finally resigned from cabinet.
Trudeau said he “completely disagreed” with Wilson-Raybould later Wednesday night.
So we asked our political panel if they believed her?
“My view in this is immaterial,” said Marc Miller, the parliamentary secretary to Crown-Indigenous Relations.
Then Miller said he believed Trudeau.
“I believe the prime minister acted as he should of and vigorous conversations should have happened between the prime minister and the attorney general.”
He also said Wilson-Raybould said no laws were broken and she wasn’t directed.
The Conservative Indigenous affairs critic said anyone who even read her testimony believed the former attorney general.
“There is without question in my mind,” she indicated. “She was subjected to severe and ongoing pressure,” said Cathy McLeod.
Wilson-Raybould also said the pressure included veiled threats from Trudeau, his senior staff, the top public servant and Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office to halt a criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant.
She told the committee she was “hounded” to end the prosecution for months after the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, had rejected the idea of negotiating a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin and long after she had unequivocally declared that she would not direct Roussel to reverse her decision.
“For a period of approximately four months, between September and December of 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada,” she told the committee.
Speaking at an event in St. Hubert, Que. Wednesday evening, Trudeau denied any wrongdoing.
“I strongly maintain, as I have from the beginning, that I and my staff have always acted appropriately and professionally. I therefore completely disagree with the former attorney general’s characterization of events.”
Pressed by reporters on details contained in Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, Trudeau said he had not yet had a chance to listen to it in its entirety.
NDP MP Niki Ashton said on Nation to Nation that she was shocked by the testimony.
“I admire her tremendously,” said Ashton. “Partisanship aside, this is a strong woman, a strong Indigenous woman, a trailblazer who yesterday spoke her truth.”
– with APTN News files.