Justin Trudeau crisis: Canadian prime minister ‘SHOULD be prosecuted’

Justin Trudeau crisis: Canadian prime minister ‘SHOULD be prosecuted’

Butts also stressed in his testimony that there was no pressure on Wilson-Raybould to change her decision on SNC-Lavalin, only to inform the decision with the outside expert opinion of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

After Wilson-Raybould resigned, Trudeau repeatedly called her "Jody" in defending his actions toward her - a small indignity but one many noticed. Drouin also said a day later, on September 12, she was informed the director of public prosecutions was still talking to SNC-Lavalin, which indicated to Drouin that the decision not to proceed to a remediation agreement was not final. A former health minister and Indigenous-services minister who was president of the federal Treasury Board when she quit the cabinet, Philpott was widely seen as one of Trudeau's most capable ministers.

Gerry Butts told the House justice committee Wednesday that the former attorney general only raised the issue of the DPA with him once before the shuffle - at the tail-end of a dinner at the Château Laurier hotel - and never framed the overtures of PMO or Privy Council Office staff on the issue as inappropriate.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has cancelled his visit to the Queen City on Tuesday.

"I am firmly convinced that nothing happened here beyond the normal operations of government", Butts told the committee. Which is to say that he returned the whole scandal to exactly the place the Liberals want it - a political soap opera of "he said, she said", where only subjective perspectives are known and the facts remain forever hidden. "The Attorney General could have spoken or written to the Prime Minister at any time during this process to say attempts to contact her office on the meeting were improper and they should cease immediately".

When Gerald Butts, until recently principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, appeared before the same committee on Wednesday, he sought to strike an X through some of those squares, disputing that certain things unfolded as she said they did, or at all, but treading ever so carefully around anything close to calling her untruthful.

He also claimed that one of the meetings, a two-hour dinner between himself and Wilson-Raybould at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottowa on December 5, was at her request, and was an overwhelmingly positive discussion. He also denied that she was removed as justice minister and attorney-general because of her refusal to negotiate with the company.

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The Liberal majority voted against requiring the government to produce all communications between high government officials, including Butts and the prime minister, on the SNC-Lavalin case.

Through his testimony, Butts framed the conflict between Wilson-Raybould and the Prime Minister's Office as a "breakdown in trust" precipitated by the January cabinet shuffle. And by the end of the day's testimony, it was obvious Wilson-Raybould needed to return to the witness stand.

Allegations that Gerald Butts and other officials inappropriately tried to help construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc have fueled a scandal that has cost Trudeau two senior cabinet ministers. He said he should have known better than to have recommended her to the role because of this major consideration, and would have had he been provided with more notice. "However, a breakdown in the relationship between the former attorney general and the prime minister occurred".

What's not in dispute - and hasn't been for the past month - is that the SNC-Lavalin affair is taking a heavy toll on the government.

With opposition leaders clamouring for Trudeau to resign - supported by half of Canadians, according to one recent survey - the justice committee and the independent ethics commissioner have both opened investigations.

"That is not what I said", Butts responded, when asked about the allegation.

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