Gerald Butts, former principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, prepares to appear before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights regarding the SNC Lavalin Affair, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts says he has provided notes and text messages to the House of Commons justice committee in response to evidence filed last week by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould on the ongoing SNC-Lavalin controversy. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Gerald Butts provides notes, texts to justice committee on SNC-Lavalin

This in response to material filed last week by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts said on Sunday he had provided information to the House of Commons justice committee in response to material filed last week by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould on the ongoing SNC-Lavalin controversy.

Butts said in a tweet his information comprised notes and texts of exchanges between himself and Wilson-Raybould.

READ MORE: Wilson-Raybould: I recorded phone call out of fear it would be ‘inappropriate’

On Friday, the justice committee released a 43-page brief from Wilson-Raybould that includes emails and text messages. In addition, the former justice minister also provided a 17-minute audio clip of a secretly recorded telephone call between herself and Michael Wernick, the country’s top public servant.

In the Dec. 19 call, Wernick repeatedly asks her why she isn’t using all the tools at her disposal on the SNC-Lavalin case. She pushes back, saying she would not override the decision of the director of public prosecutions to pursue criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin for bribery and fraud.

Wernick told her the prime minister was “quite determined” on the matter and would likely “find a way to get it done one way or another.”

In her written submission, Wilson-Raybould acknowledged recording the conversation was an “extraordinary and otherwise inappropriate step,” but said she felt it necessary to have an exact record of what was discussed.

Wernick declined to comment but his lawyer, Frank Addario, said recording the call was “inappropriate.”

The former attorney general testified earlier this month that she believes she was moved out of the prestigious justice portfolio to Veterans Affairs in a mid-January cabinet shuffle as punishment for refusing to succumb to relentless pressure last fall from Trudeau, his senior staff, Wernick and others to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case. She resigned from cabinet a month later.

Butts, who resigned as Trudeau’s principle secretary last month, told the justice committee he believes nobody from the Prime Minister’s Office did anything wrong and that Wilson-Raybould never complained about facing undue pressure.

Butts submitted the additional material to support his own version of events to the committee on Sunday. The documents must be translated into French and their release approved by panel members before public release.

Chairman Anthony Housefather said Sunday he was not exactly sure how long this process could take, but said it would normally be a day or two.

Speaking in Brampton, Ont., Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Butts’ latest action shows the Liberal government was too quick to shut down the justice committee investigation into whether undue political pressure was brought to bear on the attorney general over prosecuting SNC-Lavalin.

“Beyond a shadow of a doubt now, we know that there was high-level attempt to interfere in this process,” Scheer said. “Now we’re calling on the ethics committee to allow an investigation to proceed.”

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Vancouver Island MusicFest revisited

This year’s lineup included Colin James, Tom Cochrane and lots more

Peninsula Co-op hosting matching gift campaign for BC Cancer Foundation

Company will match donations up to $75,000 for Vancouver Island residents battling cancer

Comox Valley military museum could be closed for a couple of months

HMCS Alberni site suffered water damage during a recent downpour

Injured humpback returns to waters off Comox a year later

Photographer spotted Ocular again and noticed the whale has been healing

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Film features Chez Monique, an off-the-grid restaurant on West Coast Trail in B.C.

“The story we are trying to share is of the loving haven they created and sustained for decades.”

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Most Read