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Gerald Butts full statement to the Commons justice committee on SNC-Lavalin

Gerald Butts full statement to the Commons justice committee on SNC-Lavalin

Mr Trudeau has previously avoided questions on a criminal investigation, saying he thinks "it is important there is an airing on this situation" in the form of the ethics commissioner's and parliamentary committee's investigations. There is no surprise in that.

Well, wasn't that kind of Gerald Butts?

Cue the nasal coffee rockets. It was clear that he arrived in that committee room, which feels oddly subterranean despite being a huge space located on the fourth floor of a slickly refurbished government building, acutely aware that it would be politically disastrous for him to look like he was impugning Wilson-Raybould in any way.

The way Butts told it, the whole thing was a mirage.

Asked to comment on Wernick's involvement in this matter, Butts said on Wednesday morning that he finds the accusations levelled against Canada's top civil servant "completely inconsistent with his character". Trudeau said earlier Monday he was still deciding whether Wilson-Raybould could remain a member of his party in Parliament.

Wilson-Raybould was demoted from her role as attorney general and justice minister in January as part of a Cabinet shuffle by Trudeau. Butts is testifying under the same Order-in-Council.

Wilson-Raybould told the committee last week that she believes the pressure she faced was inappropriate but not illegal. He repeated his claim that he never applied inappropriate pressure on, or issued veiled threats against, Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould has a lot of reasons to be fuming about the former principal secretary's unsworn testimony. He said Trudeau wanted to move Jane Philpott from indigenous services minister to the Treasury post and shift Wilson-Raybould, who is indigenous, to indigenous services but she refused. It was all her fault.

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. The implication is obvious.

And one of them is lying.

It would have been bad enough if it stopped there.

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"I did not attempt to influence her decision".

Butts didn't have to connect all the dots to get at what he was implying.

Minister Wilson-Raybauld felt she was being shuffled out for "other reasons".

Then she asked Butts if they had sought any independent evidence that those 9,000 jobs really were at risk if SNC-Lavalin had been forced to face the legal music. Which tracks with what Butts said.

Butt's testimony featured a few other things that were outlandish. If it's convicted, SNC-Lavalin could be banned from federal contracts for 10 years.

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Wilson-Raybould also revealed that she didn't agree with legal advice given her by Drouin about her options after the director of public prosecutions decided last September not to invite the Montreal engineering giant to negotiate a remediation agreement.

He told The House the government's SNC-Lavalin ordeal is far from over. That, of course, is their goal.

A number of additional MPs not on the committee attended the meeting today. "However, a breakdown in the relationship between the former attorney general and the prime minister occurred".

They don't leave the matter to a hopelessly partisan committee to smother in the basement like an unwanted kitten.

"In that version of the events, the attorney general made the final decision, after weighing all of the public interest matters and a new law involved, in just 12 days", Butts said.