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The full story of the SNC-Lavalin affair yet to be told: Wilson-Raybould

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The full story of what happened in the SNC-Lavalin case has not yet been told, says former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in a harsh new book recounting her time in the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In the book “Indian in the Cabinet, Speaking the Truth About Power,” Wilson Raybould suggests that while the Trudeau government has considered the question closed, the SNC-Lavalin affair may not be over.

“At a time when my office was dealing with ‘pressure’ to postpone company prosecution, my staff and I were unaware of everything the power agents in Ottawa were doing around us,” wrote Wilson-Raybould, who said some information is still locked behind the walls of cabinet confidants. “We do not know yet. I will let others know if they can or have any desire to do so.”

Wilson-Raybould, who served as justice minister and attorney general, says that by January 2021, the RCMP was still considering whether to investigate the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the matter.

“At the time of writing this book, the RCMP was continuing to consider this issue carefully with all available information,” she wrote, echoing the language in an RCMP statement issued in August 2019, the only force statement for the matter so far.

Wilson-Raybould offers no evidence to support her claim or to say how she knows the RCMP was still reviewing government actions in January.

The RCMP has been closed in the past if an investigation was launched into possible obstruction of justice charges for trying to pressure Wilson-Raybould to offer the Quebec construction company a Delayed Prosecution Agreement (DPA) ) on charges of fraud and bribery.

In March 2020, the Globe and Mail reported that the RCMP’s review of whether the sober person would be investigated appeared to have delayed an investigation by Canada’s lobbying commissioner into whether SNC-Lavalin was engaged in improper lobbying. In May this year, Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Blanger told a parliamentary committee that she had submitted three cases to the RCMP, but gave no further details.

In August 2019, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion revealed that Trudeau had violated the Conflict of Interest Act by using his position of authority to influence Wilson-Raybould to overturn the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions not to negotiate a DA with the giant of construction and engineering Me

In her book, Wilson-Raybould paints a non-flattering portrait of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but an even more rude one of his two top advisers, Chief of Staff Katie Telford and former chief secretary Gerald Butts. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)

In December, prosecutors reached an agreement with SNC-Lavalin Construction, which pleaded guilty to a fraud charge and paid a $ 280 million fine.

Much of Wilson-Raybould’s account of the issue in her book reflects what she has previously said publicly and in parliamentary committees, but the book also takes the reader inside, into what was going on behind the scenes.

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Wilson-Raybould said staff at the Office of the Prime Minister would try to control the actions of her and other ministers in other files, but that the SNC-Lavalin case was different because it was “confusing the prosecution,” she wrote.

“The act itself crossed a line, even raising questions in some minds about possible crime.”

Wilson-Raybould also apologized for recording a conversation with Privy Council official Michael Wernick when he called him to discuss SNC-Laval.

In her book, Jody Wilson-Raybould asserts that the RCMP was considering a possible impediment to investigating the fairness of government actions until January 2021 when she wrote the book. (Paul Chiasson / Canadian Press)

“I needed ‘invoices,’ ‘securing’ a registration,” she wrote. “I was the attorney general, and the political actions and the reality unfolding about this case and others and about me at this time were a nightmare. I did not trust these people. Their actions were extraordinary and not in a good way. “They were trying to do something that crossed the line, and they had been trying it for months.”

The Wilson-Raybould book was originally scheduled to hit the market in mid-October. However, his release shifted up and comes out in the bookstore as a closely fought election campaign enters its final week.

In her book, Wilson-Raybould paints a non-flattering portrait of Trudeau and an even less flattering picture of the Office of the Prime Minister and two of Trudeau’s top advisers over the years Chief of Staff Katie Telford and former chief secretary Gerald Butts.

Jody Wilson-Raybould says in her book that she has not regretted receiving a phone call with former Private Council employee Michael Wernick about a delayed prosecution deal for SNC-Laval. “I did not trust these people. Their actions were extraordinary and not in a good way. They were trying to do something that crossed the line, and they were trying it for months. (Justin Tang / Canadian Press)

She describes how her first honeymoon with Trudeau and the new Liberal government began to deteriorate and eventually led to political divorce from meddling in Justice in Veterans Affairs, her resignation from the cabinet and her expulsion from the liberal group. It paints a picture of a controlling OPM that will not even allow ministers to meet together without their chiefs of staff, who are often appointed by the OPM, and where unelected OPM staff instructs cabinet ministers to review policies that they are drafting.

“Over time, power was centralized while ministers were marginalized. Eventually ministers were increasingly treated as later opinions.”

In February 2019, she said, Trudeau suggested that his office was telling the truth about the SNC-Laval case and its office was not.

“At that moment I know he wanted me to lie to prove that what happened did not happen.”

‘I wish I had never met’

Her relationship with Trudeau deteriorated to the point that at one point in March 2019, after Trudeau called her to a meeting to persuade her to leave the SNC affair, she said aloud: “I would like to I had never met you. ” Elsewhere, Wilson-Raybould likens Trudeau’s stance to the “white big daddy.”

After the Ethics Commissioner released his report in August 2019, Trudeau acknowledged that he had “made mistakes” and said “the way this happened should not have happened.” But he also defended his intervention with Wilson-Raybould, saying he was trying to protect Canadian countries and avoid the negative consequences of prosecuting a major employer.

Wilson-Raybould also recounts how the Liberal Party itself arrives at ministerial offices, expecting cabinet ministers to travel the country to raise money and support, including forcing it to attend a fundraising event that it initially had refused when he learned that guests were likely to include people applying to be appointed judges.

“I also hated that all my political staff were told they had to donate to the party and make bank phone calls during the next election and that every chief of staff was expected to become a member of the Laurier Club.”

Membership in the Laurier Club is reserved for the party’s major financial donors. Currently, you need a donation of $ 1,600 per year to become a regular member.

Wilson-Raybould also takes readers within her last days in the cabinet and a series of three closed-door meetings with Trudeau. It started with Trudeau saying he wanted her to remain part of the government. She called on him to “clean at least part of the house in some way” and launch an investigation into the SNC-Lavalin case.

After three meetings, Wilson-Raybould said he knew what he had to do.

“Knowing everything I knew as a former attorney general and now knowing that the prime minister would not be cleared, I had no choice. Now there was no trust. I had lost all trust I had in the prime minister. And there was no room in the cabinet for “Someone who thinks the prime minister is unbelievable. There was also no room for me in a government that would act in this way on matters of fundamental principle such as upholding the rule of law.”

Wilson-Raybould’s book also gives an overview of her childhood, her upbringing, her views on federal and indigenous politics, as well as very personal moments in her life, her attempts to start a family, and failing something for her. which she blames her impact working on her health.

“I was speaking at WE Day 2011 in Vancouver at Rogers Arena, and in front of thousands of children, I started having an abortion. Literally while I was on stage. I felt it. After I finished my welcome remarks, I left the stage. “I found a toilet and cleaned up. And then I went to meet Mikhail Gorbachev, who was also talking that day. Then I went to the hospital.”

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