Liberals Deny Second Committee Request to Investigate Political Interference

March 26, 2019 Updated: March 27, 2019

OTTAWA—The Liberal majority on the House of Commons ethics committee have voted down a motion backed by Conservatives and New Democrats that would have seen former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott testify about SNC-Lavalin controversy.

“The coverup continues,” Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said after the meeting ended.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

Wilson-Raybould told the justice House of Commons justice committee last month that she was pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his senior advisers and senior advisors to the finance minister, to overrule the decision by the director of public prosecutions not to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin rather than proceed to a criminal trial on fraud charges.

She believes she was shuffled out of justice in January because she wouldn’t change her mind.

Trudeau has denied anything improper occurred but has been unable to change the channel from the saga that has badly hurt his public image. He said the whole thing boils down to a breakdown in trust between him, his aides, and Wilson-Raybould.

In this file photo from April 13, 2017, Canada's Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott attend a news conference in Ottawa, Canada. Wilson-Raybould and Philpotss have both resigned from Trudeau's Cabinet over the government's handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair. (Reuters/Chris Wattie)
In this file photo from April 13, 2017, Canada’s Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott attend a news conference in Ottawa, Canada. Wilson-Raybould and Philpotss have both resigned from Trudeau’s Cabinet over the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair. (Reuters/Chris Wattie)

During the almost two-hour-long meeting Tuesday, Conservatives and New Democrats urged their Liberal colleagues to put partisan issues aside and agree to have the ethics committee take on the probe after the Liberals ended the justice committee’s investigation last week.

Liberal MP Nathaniel Ermine-Smith, who voted in favour of an NDP motion in February to hold a public inquiry on the matter, said at the ethics committee Tuesday a new probe may only result in relitigating what has already been said at the unless the two former cabinet ministers were granted wider waivers to testify on the issue.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on March 7, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Justin Tang)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks regarding the SNC-Lavalin affair in Ottawa on March 7, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Justin Tang)

Trudeau has not indicated any willingness to do that saying the waivers were already unprecedented and allowed for the facts relevant to the matter at hand to be made public.

The justice committee heard from 10 witnesses over five meetings but opposition parties say Wilson-Raybould named 11 people who she felt crossed the line and all of them should be asked to testify. Only two of those people were among the witnesses the justice committee did hear from.

The Epoch Times contributed to this report. 

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