Live at 10 a.m.: Trudeau’s former senior aide Gerald Butts testifies over the SNC-Lavalin scandal

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Live at 10 a.m.: Trudeau’s former senior aide Gerald Butts testifies over the SNC-Lavalin scandal


Gerald Butts appears before the House of Commons justice committee Wednesday morning starting at 10 a.m., to tell his side of the SNC-Lavalin saga that has already cost the embattled Liberal government two cabinet ministers and the prime minister’s most trusted adviser.

MPs are expecting Butts — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s confidant and former senior aide — to share what he knows about allegations that he and other senior officials pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the criminal proceedings against SNC-Lavalin.

Gerald Butts, former senior political adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is shown here leaving the PM’s office on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa in October. Liberals are hoping they'll get some ammunition today to fight back against accusations of political interference in the justice system when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's former principal secretary tells his side of the SNC-Lavalin saga.
Gerald Butts, former senior political adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is shown here leaving the PM’s office on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa in October. Liberals are hoping they’ll get some ammunition today to fight back against accusations of political interference in the justice system when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary tells his side of the SNC-Lavalin saga.  (Justin Tang / Canadian Press file photo)

In bombshell testimony that rocked Ottawa last week, Wilson-Raybould described a “consistent and sustained effort” by those officials to “politically interfere” in her prosecutorial discretion, which she said was “inappropriate.”

Trudeau has maintained there was no improper pressure. Butts’s testimony will be key to the prime minister’s defence. He resigned his post last month after the allegations broke, “categorically” denying the allegations that he or others pressured Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould was moved from her post as justice minister and attorney general to veterans affairs in a small cabinet shuffle in mid-January — a move she believes was punishment for not acquiescing to the pressure. She resigned from cabinet last month.

After Butts, the committee will also hear from two returning witnesses: Michael Wernick, the clerk of the Privy Council, and Nathalie Drouin, the deputy minister of justice and deputy attorney general.

Treasury Board president Jane Philpott handed in her resignation Monday, citing her loss of confidence in the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Trudeau is weighing whether to deliver an expression of contrition or a more detailed statement on the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

Read more:

What to expect when Gerald Butts and others testify at the justice committee





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