Conservatives call for emergency meeting after PMO, SNC-Lavalin report

Trudeau denies report his office pressured attorney general to help SNC-Lavalin

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould says she can not discuss allegations that she was pressured by the Prime Minister's Office to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal prosecution.

Wilson-Raybould, now minister of Veterans Affairs, said Friday she would not comment on claims that the Prime Minister's Office tried to pressure her to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution in pending legal action against the construction company.

The Liberal Government is under fire from the Opposition over claims that surfaced in a Globe and Mail newspaper report that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office applied pressure to the Minister of Justice to drop investigations. Months later, Wilson-Raybould was moved to the veterans affairs post in a January cabinet shuffle, and Montrealer David Lametti took over as attorney general and justice minister.

Neither Trudeau nor Wilson-Raybould nor SNC-Lavalin has immediately responded to questions from The Canadian Press about the story.

Mr. Scheer called for "full disclosure" from Mr. Trudeau on the interactions between the PMO and Ms. Wilson-Raybould regarding SNC-Lavalin.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated repeatedly that no one in his office had directed the Minister of Justice in the matter of SNC-Lavalin.

Conservatives and New Democrats on the Commons justice committee are also joining forces to get an emergency meeting next week to consider a motion calling on nine high-ranking government officials to testify, including Wilson-Raybould herself.

"Even more shocking, the prime minister may have fired her from her role as our country's first Indigenous justice minister and attorney general", said McLeod, the Conservative party's Indigenous Affairs critic.

The officials said the government would have been remiss not to deliberate over the fate of the Quebec giant, given that a prosecution could bankrupt the company, putting thousands of Canadians out of work.

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A senior government official with direct knowledge of the matter said a lawyer did not draft Trudeau's denial of impropriety, but noted Trudeau deliberately said the PMO did not direct the attorney general on the matter.

They spoke on condition their names not be used.

"Canadians deserve a government that is on their side, not on the side of a massive multinational corporation with deep ties to the Liberal Party", said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

Rudd added that, based on Wilson-Raybould's activity on Twitter and Facebook, she's clearly "engaged" with her new job.

Conservative MP Mark Strahl baldly accused the government of firing Wilson-Raybould for failing to follow orders.

The PMO and Lametti's office say they haven't contacted by the police, while Wilson-Raybould declined to comment.

Wilson-Raybould did not rise in the House to answer questions. "The attorney general of Canada is the chief law officer of the Crown and provides legal advice to the government with the responsibility to act in the public interest".

The fact that such directives must be done publicly is meant to constrain a justice minister from doing anything overtly political.

A guilty verdict on bribery and corruption charges would result in SNC-Lavalin being barred from government contracts in Canada for 10 years. "It hurts their reputation", he said.

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