Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancels visit to Regina


Embattled Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - who has been implicated in a corruption scandal as well as a #MeToo accusation from two decades ago - appeared at a climate change ralley on Monday, and the scene quickly got ugly.

Really? SNC-Lavalin itself received word on September 4 from the Director of Public Prosecutions that the company would not be getting a deferred prosecution agreement and would be facing a trial.

"We know what it's like when a company or a community collapses", he said, referring to the shutdown of the coal mine operations in which thousands of people lost their jobs.

In testimony before the committee, Wilson-Raybould named 11 government officials, including Butts, saying they "urged me to take partisan political considerations into account, which was clearly improper".

Butts told the committee cabinet decisions are "not the product of shared decision-making", though he tried to reassure Wilson-Raybould that her eventual move to Veterans Affairs had nothing to do with the SNC-Lavalin matter.

Former Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould arrives to give her testimony about the SNC-LAVALIN affair before a justice committee hearing on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 27, 2019. Demoting Wilson-Raybould in the cabinet shuffle was just a coincidence. Now, one of the people she's accused, the former top man in the PMO, has his turn to speak.

Butts said all officials working on the file knew that the decision to direct Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel to enter into negotiations on a DPA or remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin was exclusively at the discretion of the attorney general.

But when it comes down to the brass tacks of key questions and recollections, there's no escaping that Wilson-Raybould and Butts can't both be telling the truth. He walked the committee through the chronology she presented last week: that she learned of the DPP decision on Sept. 4, while she was out of the country, then she returned on Sept. 12 and her mind was made up by Sept. 16.

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Trudeau denies the allegations, saying he made clear to Wilson-Raybould that any decision on the case was hers alone.

"I think its quite plausible that Gerry Butts didn't register how distressed Jody Wilson-Raybould was particularly because their conversation was friendly", May said.

"This is all riding on the threat to jobs, but based on the 2018 audited financial statements of SNC-Lavalin, they now have $15 billion in back-orders".

"I want to say that I deeply regret that the former minister's [Wilson-Raybould] trust and faith in the many colleagues she served alongside for three and a half years has eroded so much", he said. They came from members of Canada's largest opposition party, the Conservatives, but also from lawmakers representing Trudeau's Liberal Party and two influential left-of-center parties, the New Democratic Party and the Greens.

In testimony peppered with testy exchanges with opposition MPs, Wernick said Wilson-Raybould's decision not to intervene was not considered final.

Butts maintains no pressure was exerted on Wilson-Raybould - that the government officials who spoke to her about the file merely wanted her to consider a second opinion on a deferred prosecution agreement.

Philpott, a physician, is a former minister of health and minister of indigenous services and was widely viewed as of one of Trudeau's most competent Cabinet ministers.

Butts said on Wednesday the SNC-Lavalin issue had nothing to do with the Cabinet shuffle, which he said was prompted by the political retirement of Treasury Board minister Scott Brison.

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