Canada: Liberal MP who led committee shutdown denies coverup, says it's time for 'shift' in SNC-Lavalin debate - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaLiberal MP who led committee shutdown denies coverup, says it's time for 'shift' in SNC-Lavalin debate

21:45  14 march  2019
21:45  14 march  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Liberals shut down SNC committee meeting

Liberals shut down SNC committee meeting OTTAWA - Liberal MPs have used their majority on the House of Commons justice committee to shut down an opposition attempt to call Jody Wilson-Raybould to testify again on the SNC-Lavalin affair. Shortly after the meeting convened, the Liberal committee members abruptly voted to adjourn, with Conservatives and New Democrats shouting out epithets like "Cover-up!" and "Despicable!" Today's meeting came about at the request of opposition members. They wanted the former justice minister and attorney general to appear again to answer claims made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's former top aide Gerald Butts.

Liberal MP who led committee shutdown denies coverup, says it's time for 'shift' in SNC-Lavalin debate© Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press Conservative and NDP members of the Commons justice committee want Jody Wilson-Raybould recalled to give more testimony.

The Liberal MP who triggered the sudden adjournment of an emergency meeting of the Commons justice committee Wednesday insists there's been no attempt by the government to cover up the SNC-Lavalin affair, and says it's time to turn the page on the controversy.

Francis Drouin suggested the opposition Conservative and NDP members were playing politics by calling the meeting during March break, since a session to determine next steps had already been scheduled for Mar. 19.

Scott Thompson: Why won’t Justin Trudeau let Jody Wilson-Raybould speak again?

Scott Thompson: Why won’t Justin Trudeau let Jody Wilson-Raybould speak again? Canadians still don't have any answers.

The opposition members forced Wednesday's meeting to debate a motion to invite former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould back before the committee to testify for a second time about what she claims was a concerted effort by high-level government officials, including people in the Prime Minister's Office, to interfere with her decision to allow bribery charges against SNC-Lavalin to proceed to trial.

Drouin said he believes it's unnecessary to bring Wilson-Raybould back. He said she can provide the committee with a written statement and noted she's testified before the committee for nearly four hours already.

"I think I've heard enough," he said in an interview with CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. "Ms. Raybould has said, in response to Elizabeth May and Nathan Cullen, that nothing illegal was committed, nothing criminal was committed. So now the conversation has to shift between whether or not the attorney general and the minister of justice, those roles should be split."

Tories threaten to delay budget unless Wilson-Raybould makes 2nd appearance

Tories threaten to delay budget unless Wilson-Raybould makes 2nd appearance The Conservatives are warning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to brace for huge backlash — including tactics to stall the release of the budget — if the Liberal majority on the House of Commons justice committee blocks Jody Wilson-Raybould from testifying again. "We as Conservatives are going to use every parliamentary tool in the toolkit to end the coverup and let her speak," finance critic Pierre Poilievre told reporters on Sunday, speaking about the ongoing SNC-Lavalin affair. "If he thinks Canadians will quietly let him shut down the investigation, he's in for a terrible surprise next week.

Drouin tabled the motion to adjourn Thursday's meeting less than 30 minutes in, even though the meeting was scheduled to last two hours. That prompted opposition members to shout angry accusations about a "cover-up" and call the actions of Liberal committee members "disgusting" and "despicable."

The committee meets next on Tuesday to decide whether Wilson-Raybould and others should be called to testify. That meeting likely will be held behind closed doors, as is the practice for most meetings where potential witnesses are being discussed. Had Wednesday's meeting not been adjourned, MPs would have discussed a motion to bring Wilson-Raybould back to testify — which would have required Liberal MPs to publicly state their positions.

Conservatives call it the 'Justin committee'

Most of the justice committee members are Liberal MPs, which gives them a lot of control over how the proceedings unfold. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre claimed yesterday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is directing the Liberal members and said it should be called the "Justin committee" rather than the "justice committee."

Liberals on justice committee say it's time to end SNC-Lavalin probe

Liberals on justice committee say it's time to end SNC-Lavalin probe Liberal MPs on the Commons Justice committee say their work is done and any further examination of the SNC-Lavalin affair should be left to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. Opposition leaders say the Liberals are trying to hide the truth from Canadians.

"Pierre Poilievre is a great political actor. But I don't think Mr. Trudeau is calling the shots," Drouin told Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan.

Drouin also said he does not believe the matter merits a public independent inquiry.

The NDP has been calling for such an inquiry, while the Conservatives have been calling for Trudeau's resignation and an RCMP investigation.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion, who has taken a prolonged leave of absence for health reasons, is also examining the SNC-Lavalin affair to determine if ethics rules were broken.

Wilson-Raybould to provide emails, texts and written statement on SNC-Lavalin affair.
Jody Wilson-Raybould says she will provide a written statement and copies of text messages and emails to the Commons justice committee that shut down its probe into the SNC-Lavalin affair. The Liberal members, which have a majority on the committee, voted to close the inquiry without recalling the former attorney general to testify a second time in order to respond to other witnesses. In a letter to the committee chair, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, Wilson-Raybould, former justice miniter and attorney general, said she would respond to a request to provide copies of texts and emails she referenced in her Feb.

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