Wernick issued veiled threats over SNC standoff, Wilson-Raybould says

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OTTAWA — Jody Wilson-Raybould secretly recorded a conversation with Michael Wernick in which she claims the country’s top public servant issued veiled threats that she’d lose her job as justice minister if she didn’t intervene to stop the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

She included the audio recording as part of an additional written submission to the House of Commons justice committee, after testifying orally for nearly four hours about an intense pressure campaign last fall to persuade her to override the director of public prosecutions, who had decided not to offer the Montreal engineering giant a remediation agreement.

“I am 100 per cent confident I’m doing nothing inappropriate,” Wilson-Raybould can be heard telling Wernick in the Dec. 19 phone conversation.

“This is gonna look like nothing but political interference by the prime minister, by you, by everyone that has been involved in this, politically pressuring me to do this.

“I actually feel uncomfortable having this conversation. It’s wrong.”

Wernick is heard to say the prime minister doesn’t believe he’s asking Wilson-Raybould to do anything inappropriate.

Wilson-Raybould testified orally about conversation, saying she took his warnings that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was determined to halt the prosecution as veiled threats.

She said she believes she was moved out of the prestigious justice portfolio to Veterans Affairs in a mid-January cabinet shuffle because she refused to intervene; she resigned from cabinet a month later.

Wernick has denied threatening Wilson-Raybould or improperly pressuring her.

By the time he appeared for a second time at committee on March 6, Wernick appears to have learned that his Dec. 19 conversation had been recorded.

In response to questions about his recollections about the conversation, he snapped: “I did not wear a wire, record the conversation or take extemporaneous notes.”

The Canadian Press

1 COMMENT

  1. I guess transparency and accountability of your words are foreign concepts to Mr. Wernick – the highest servant of the public in Canada (supposedly an exemplar of Public Service). This just goes to show you how upside down things really are in the bizarro world of politics.

    Parties are ideologically based things that put power, money and the economy ahead of citizens.

    Democracy is a constantly evolving thing. As problems get solved new priorities come to the fore.

    Why don’t the 3 mainstream Parties Change?

    Their ideologies are all power, money, and the economy before the welfare of citizens, and that never changes.

    Parties are too powerful.

    Citizens first. The economy second.

    Citizen Mark Brown

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