Laughable: Trudeau's New AG 'Sees No Justification for Probe' of Alleged PMO Interference in SNC-Lavalin Case
OTTAWA -- Current Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti said there has been no evidence to justify a committee investigation into whether or not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or anyone in his office tried to have former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould abandon the prosecution of a case against SNC-Lavalin.
"All we've heard are allegations in a newspaper," Lametti, who replaced Wilson-Raybould when she was shuffled into the Veterans' Affairs portfolio last month, told CTV's Question Period host Evan Solomon.
"The prime minister has said that these allegations are false. We haven't had any corroborating evidence there. There hasn't been anything to my mind that justifies a committee investigation."
Despite this stated view, Lametti said that "it's up to the committee to do what it wants to do."
The opposition parties are pushing for an emergency meeting of the House Justice Committee to consider a motion that would call on Wilson-Raybould, Lametti, and several other high-profile government officials to testify.
"I'll let the committee decide. The committee is the master of its own docket. But certainly from what I have seen, and what the prime minister has said, I can reassure Canadians that there has been nothing inappropriate that has happened," Lametti said.
The call for this study was prompted by a bombshell Globe and Mail report that the Prime Minister's Office tried to get Wilson-Raybould to ask prosecutors to make a deal in the corruption and fraud case against the Quebec-based engineering and construction company.
According to the Globe, Wilson-Raybould was unwilling to play along and did not follow through despite the high-level pressure. CTV News has not independently verified the story.
The bombshell report prompted intense backlash in the House of Commons, with the Conservatives framing Wilson-Raybould's ministerial move as a demotion for not following the PMO’s orders, while the NDP said the Globe’s report proves that the Liberals offer special treatment to their wealthy friends.
Among the staffers that the Conservatives and NDP want to hear from at the committee: Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Gerald Butts; Senior Advisors Elder Marques and Mathieu Bouchard; and Wilson-Raybould’s chief of staff Jessica Prince.
"Given the disturbing reports of political interference by the Prime Minister's Office in the functions of the Attorney General of Canada, and given the minister of Veterans Affairs recent comments that ‘It is a pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political interference and uphold the highest levels of public confidence, the committee hold no fewer than four meetings," reads the motion.
'Where there's smoke there's fire'