Trudeau spoke to Wilson-Raybould after prosecutors refused SNC-Lavalin deal

Jody Wilson-Raybould former Canadian justice minister walks on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Ontario

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported nearly two weeks ago that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was pressured by prime ministerial staff to help the Montreal engineering firm avoid a criminal prosecution on corruption charges related to contracts in Libya.

Trudeau insists there was no wrongdoing. But Wilson-Raybould, demoted in a January reshuffle, quit on February 12 and then Trudeau's principal private secretary and close ally Gerald Butts resigned on Monday.

It is not clear when Wilson-Raybould might appear.

"The PM's director of communications, Cameron Ahmad, said "for the time being, I don't have anything further" to say when he was asked if Trudeau was aware of the prosecutor's decision when he spoke to Ms. Wilson Raybould on September 17th".

Trudeau's office declined to give details of what had happened in the meeting.

Deputy Conservative leader Lisa Raitt said the committee hearings won't be meaningful unless solicitor-client privilege between Wilson-Raybould and the government is waived and, at a minimum, Butts can be questioned on his blanket assertion that he did nothing wrong.

"It's not good. A lot of people have no idea what is going on", said a Liberal legislator who asked for anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

"We need to put this to bed".

"There will be nobody from the Prime Minister's Office at this", he said.

Trudeau is in no immediate danger, since Canadian political leaders are elected by party members and can not be sacked by parliamentarians, as is the case in Britain and Australia.

Some Liberals complain about what they see as the excessive concentration of power in Trudeau's office, in particular the leading roles played by Butts and Chief of Staff Katie Telford.

These comments came as she rose to formally register that she would be abstaining from two votes on an NDP motion that called for the government to launch an independent public inquiry into the scandal that broke almost two weeks ago.

In his defence, Trudeau cited a news release issued by Roussel last week in response to suggestions of political interference in another case, involving Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

Conservative Senate leader Larry Smith brought the motion for the study Tuesday but was denied the chance to immediately debate it.

Trudeau is boosted by extremely strong support in Atlantic Canada where his party now holds every seat and where he still holds 50% support.

During Question time in the House on Tuesday, opposition parties grilled Trudeau, all the while pressing for an independent public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin Affair. "The reason for my abstention is that the matter, in part, has to do with me personally and I do not think that it's appropriate for me to vote on a matter that has to do with me personally", Wilson-Raybould said, as some opposition MPs applauded.

Wilson-Raybould would not comment on what was discussed during the meeting, and whether she addressed more than 170 of her colleagues, but Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that the "mood and the human feelings were just fine", inside the room.

And he wanted to know whether Trudeau ever expressed a preference to Wilson-Raybould for a remediation agreement in the SNC-Lavalin case.

After Wilson-Raybould quit, some media organizations ran stories and cartoons denigrating her and Trudeau said he had apologized to the former minister on Wednesday for not condemning the commentaries earlier.



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