Wilson Raybould says she was pushed, got veiled threats on SNC Lavalin

Wilson Raybould says she was pushed, got veiled threats on SNC Lavalin

Calling on Royal Canadian Mounted Police to immediately launch an investigation into the claims against members of the Trudeau administration if it has not done so already, Scheer said he believes that Trudeau has "lost the moral authority to govern" in the wake of the allegations leveled against his government.

Addressing media in Montreal later in the day, Trudeau said he disagrees with Wilson-Raybould's characterization of any involvement the PMO might have had in the SNC-Lavalin matter.

Her explosive testimony left critics ready to pounce on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government.

As for Wilson-Raybould's future as a Liberal, Trudeau said he is still mulling over whether she will be allowed to remain in caucus.

This is a developing story. So did Gerald Butts, the government's principal secretary and a close college friend of Trudeau who is widely credited as being the architect of his electoral victory in 2015.

"He said to her, my chief, that if they don't get a (deferred prosecution agreement), they will leave Montreal and it's the Quebec election right now, so we can't have that happen", Wilson-Raybould told the committee. He said jobs and the economy are key issues for his government and it's his job as prime minister to defend Canadian workers.

Wilson-Raybould said Morneau's staff had continued to press her to help the firm even after she asked them to stop.

Wilson-Raybould told the committee she was "hounded" to end the prosecution for months after the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, had rejected the idea of negotiating a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin and long after she had unequivocally declared that she would not direct Roussel to reverse her decision.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Jody Wilson-Raybould, seen here with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has so far declined to comment Why would Trudeau care about SNC-Lavalin?

"You nearly get the sense that the prime minister, and the government in general, were of the approach that as long as we don't actually tell her what to do ... we're staying within the rule of law", she said. While she noted earlier this month that she would like the opportunity to speak "her truth", she said solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality prevented her from doing so.

In Canada, an attorney general is supposed to act independently with respect of his or her prosecutorial function and decisions are not supposed to be politically motivated.

They "urged me to take partisan political considerations into account, which was clearly improper", she said, adding that while "not illegal", it had "raised serious red flags".

"This pressure, or political interference to intervene, was not appropriate", she said, adding that some officials had made veiled threats unless she cooperated.

"I will not go into details of this call, or subsequent communications about the shuffle, but I will say that I stated I believed the reason was because of the SNC matter".

Mr Trudeau has been accused of pressuring his former attorney general to cut a deal with a company facing corruption charges - and retaliating when she refused to play ball.

He said the ethics committee and justice committee is investigating the case.

SNC-Lavalin heavily lobbied the government to settle the corruption case out of court.

Should the company be convicted in a trial, they would be unable to compete for federal contracts for 10 years, which would leverage a devastating hit to company employees in Canada.

"The government likes to say, 'We were anxious about jobs.' What was clear from her [Wilson-Raybould's] statement was they were anxious about electoral concerns and a favoured company", said McLeod.

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