Wilson-Raybould entered federal politics hoping to be a bridge builder

Trudeau's office pressured Justice Minister to drop case against company with deep Liberal ties

Wilson-Raybould entered federal politics hoping to be a bridge builder

The Globe reported that PMO aides leaned heavily on Wilson-Raybould to persuade the federal director of public prosecutions to negotiate a "remediation agreement" with SNC-Lavalin as a way of holding it to account for wrongdoing by some of its executives, rather than pursuing a criminal prosecution that could financially hobble the company.

The Conservatives and NDP are demanding investigations by a Commons committee and the federal ethics commissioner into allegations Wilson-Raybould was pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office.

The federal director of public prosecutions told SNC-Lavalin in October that negotiating a remediation agreement would be inappropriate in this particular case.

Now, following a report by the Globe and Mail, we have learned what lies behind Wilson-Raybould's dispatch to what effectively appears to be the federal Liberals' ministerial gulag, Veterans Affairs (with no disrespect meant to military veterans).

On Thursday morning in Vaughan, Ont. PM Trudeau told reporters that: "The allegations in the Globe story this morning are false".

"Neither the current nor the previous attorney general was ever directed by me or anyone in my office to take a decision in this matter", he said.

On the day Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of her twin role as justice minister and attorney general, she penned an unprecedented, lengthy missive defending her performance in the job.

If the Prime Minister's Office was trying to pressure Wilson-Raybould on a decision on a criminal case, rather than just discuss general issues, that would violate a constitutional principle.

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was involved in extensive, internal government discussions last fall about whether SNC-Lavalin should be allowed to avoid criminal prosecution - and government officials maintain there's nothing wrong with that.

"If the prime minister has nothing to hide, as he has suggested, then he should have no reason to fear these individuals appearing before the justice committee", Scheer said in a Friday morning news conference on Parliament Hill. He's calling for full disclosure.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Trudeau's response was carefully crafted and legally vetted.

"If he continues to fail to be transparent with Canadians, Conservatives will make every effort and explore every option to make sure Justin Trudeau and his office are held accountable", Scheer said.

A senior government official with direct knowledge of the matter said a lawyer did not draft Trudeau's denial of impropriety, but noted Trudeau deliberately said the PMO did not direct the attorney general on the matter.

"All we've heard are allegations in a newspaper", said Lametti about the SNC-Lavalin affair.

They spoke on condition their names not be used.

Justice Minister David Lametti speaks during question period in the House of Commons on February 7, 2019.

Conservative MP Mark Strahl baldly accused the government of firing Wilson-Raybould for failing to follow orders. Again, did anyone in the Prime Minister's Office communicate with the former justice minister about this case, yes or no?

According to the Globe, Wilson-Raybould was unwilling to play along and did not follow through despite the high-level pressure.

The case is now before a court, and if convicted, SNC-Lavalin could be barred from competing for Canadian government contracts for up to 10 years. "It hurts their reputation", he said.

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