, 02.12.2019 09:37 AM

#LavScam questions. I have plenty.

I have questions.

We know, from the Globe and Mail, that it was the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada, one Gerald Butts, who met with the Attorney-General of Canada in December to have a “robust discussion,” quote unquote, about perhaps giving the oleaginous SNC-Lavalin a sweetheart deal, and a free pass on those pesky corruption and bribery charges it was facing.  You know: the SNC-Lavalin who had just earlier given the Liberal Party of Canada lots of illegal donations.  

So: the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary met with the Attorney General, and possibly other PMO fart-catchers, too.  They say they all had lots of good-natured “robust discussions.” The Globe and Mail says some of them may have “obstructed justice.”

Anyway. That brings us to yesterday, when the Prime Minister of All Of Canada had a press avail thing in Vancouver.  He was announcing something, but none of us can even remember what it was.  We wanted to hear from him on the metastasizing scandal that some say is increasingly likely to lead to his defeat in October.

And here’s what he said.  Read it carefully.

“I have met with Minister Wilson-Raybould a couple of times already since arriving in B.C. yesterday. We spoke about our shared goals for our country and for this government. She confirmed for me a conversation we had this Fall where I told her directly that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions were hers alone.”

See that? “A conversation we had this Fall where I told her directly that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions were hers alone.”

How interesting.  I started shouting questions at the screen, when I heard that, but none of the reporters out in B.C. could hear me.  So I will try again with you, gentle reader.

    1. Why are we only learning now – four days into this greasy scandal – that the Prime Minister of Canada actually had “a conversation” with the Attorney General of Canada about a slimy multinational facing umpteen criminal charges? Why didn’t he admit that before now?
    2. Who initiated this “robust discussion”? Did she? Did he?  If it was the latter, why?  Was it because he and his staff had been lobbied dozens and dozens of times by SNC-Lavalin in the preceding weeks?
    3. What else was said? Did anyone take notes?  We know from the Vice-Admiral Norman trial – where, yesterday, we learned that PMO had attempted to interfere with the prosecution, too – that note-taking is frowned upon in the rarefied air of the Prime Minister’s Office.  I’ll bet, however, the Minister of Justice and her staff took notes.  Where are said notes?  Anyone done an ATIP yet? Why not, if not?
    4. Oh, and on the Norman trial: did anyone else notice that the same PMO folks accused of trying to strong-arm supposedly-independent prosecutors in the SNC-Lavalin case are the selfsame folks who did strong-arm independent prosecutors in the Norman case?  Did you notice that the judge noticed that, too?  
    5. And so on and so on.  The big question, to this writer, is this: why would it even be necessary – in this over any other moral universe – for a Prime Minister to sit down with his Attorney General and say, as Justin Trudeau claims he did in October 2018 to Jody Wilson-Raybould, the following: “Hey, Jody, I just want to, er, robustly mention that decisions involving criminal prosecutions are yours and yours alone, um, but it sure would be a shame if a government-subsidized SNC-Lavalin building were to suddenly fall on your husband’s head on his way to work one morning.” Well, okay, we don’t know if he said that last part.

But we do know that Trudeau raised SNC-Lavalin’s criminal predicament with Jody in October 2018.  He admitted that yesterday.  He said that, for the first time.

Why did he?  Why would he even need to say that he didn’t want to interfere with her prosecutorial role? Why would any Prime Minister ever need to say to a Minister: “Hey, don’t break the law.” Why do that? And why would his most senior advisor then show up a few weeks later, in December, to “robustly” talk about the very same thing, if everyone had already agreed in October to not, you know, break the law?

This part isn’t a question.  It’s a statement. The Nixonian children’s crusade in PMO don’t want to relieve Jody Wilson-Raybouild of her lawyer’s obligation to maintain solicitor-client privilege for one reason: they don’t want the truth to come out.  They are covering up.

But the truth, like water, always seeps out, kiddies.  It does. And, yesterday, some of it oozed out of our unctuous, baby-faced Prime Minister.

And it raised even more questions.

32 Comments

  1. Sam White says:

    All excellent questions, begging one more: Why did/are no reporters ask/asking these?

    Did we see the same let-it-pass behaviour when they were asking about Duffy-gate?

    Why are they so comparatively soft on this guy?

    • barn E. rubble says:

      RE: Sam White says:
      “Did we see the same let-it-pass behaviour when they were asking about Duffy-gate?”

      I don’t recall anything remotely like ‘let-it-pass’ behaviour. And Duffy-gate? Where was the scandal? Not even Liberals had a problem with the Duffer being entitled to his entitlements-I mean, how could they? Only in Liberal/Progressive circles would it be considered scandalous (not to mention; unheard of) to use your own &/or private money, instead of taxpayers’ money, to repay debts.

  2. Derek Cote says:

    Typo in the dates:
    “But we do know that Trudeau raised SNC-Lavalin’s criminal predicament with Jody in October 2019.”

    Other than that, keep digging Warren – great article

  3. MA says:

    Excellent questions. One typo though – should be October 2018 not 2019. Also, I thought if the ‘client’ started talking publicly that effectively removes the solicitor-client privilege?

    • Usually a client will relieve in writing. It’s my understanding that sollicitor-client privilege is not waived by general comments made in a public forum. Probably more debatable if the comments concern the nitty gritty but I still have my doubts.

    • Vancouverois says:

      The typo is understandable – this story is going to be especially pertinent come October 2019, after all.

  4. Matt says:

    “I have met with Minister Wilson-Raybould a couple of times already since arriving in B.C. yesterday. We spoke about our shared goals for our country and for this government. She confirmed for me a conversation we had this Fall where I told her directly that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions were hers alone.”

    Question 1. a) Why is Mr. feminist in chief speaking FOR Jody Wilson-Raybould?

    When he’s the guy who controls whether or not she can speak publicly by not waiving solicitor-client privilege and using his majority to block her from appearing before committee (and can use his majority to turn Wednesday’s committee hearing into nothing more than a useless PR exercise) he can pretty much claim anything he wants now can’t he.

  5. Cyndie Paul-Girdwood says:

    Thank you for your ability to make me laugh AND get angry at the same time.

  6. Dayton Funk says:

    Here’s where Trudeau started to feel comfortable and became so Balsy. The Norman case had him convinced he could bury almost anything. He was so sure of it he moved on to the SNC file with the same plan. Now the Norman case is unraveling and so too is the SNC. He’s in a jam. His weekend meetings with Raybould was more like a negotiation. “ we talked about issues we both agree on”, seriously? He talked she listened hopefully she also recorded the entire thing.

  7. Matt says:

    “What else was said? Did anyone take notes? We know from the Vice-Admiral Norman trial – where, yesterday, we learned that PMO had attempted to interfere with the prosecution, too – that note-taking is frowned upon in the rarefied air of the Prime Minister’s Office. I’ll bet, however, the Minister of Justice and her staff took notes. Where are said notes? Anyone done an ATIP yet? Why not, if not?”

    And the judge in the Norman case didn’t seem all to impressed with that little admission by the Crown did she?

  8. Seb says:

    Hey Warren, has anyone correlated the departure and replacement of the four chiefs of staff that Jody has gone thru in the past 3 yrs to both the Lavscam and Norman events? Why did they leave, who appointed the new ones, where are they now? Did they leave under conscience or cover up?

  9. Fred from BC says:

    Nicely done, Mr. K.

    It’s rarely a good idea for any politician to go off-script during a PR crisis like this, and *never* when he’s as inept at it as Junior. His dad could have managed it, probably…Harper, Chretien, Mulroney as well; they could all think on their feet, were reasonably intelligent and, most importantly, not prone to panicking and blurting out something stupid (looking at you, Martin) which would make the situation even worse.

    This would be a great time for JWR to make her move, if she’s going to.

  10. Keith Miles says:

    I wonder if this and the Norman case were the reasons behind the move to subsidize larger media outlets months ago – effectively muzzling them. Wow so not ‘transparent’, but entirely consistent with their pattern of practice. No wonder normal people are disillusioned with political systems, when we’ve never needed smart, but ethical, people more.

  11. barn E. rubble says:

    RE: ” . . . I told her directly that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions were hers alone.”

    Librano Translation: “Nice little Cabinet position ya got there . . . be a real shame if sumthin were to happen to it.”

  12. MitchB says:

    Today’s fun word EFFLUVIUM [ĭ-flōō′vē-əm] An exhalation, especially one of bad odour or injurious influence. Perfect name for the stuff oozing from Justin Trudeau and his PMO this week.

  13. Pat Chamandy says:

    Excellent article.

    Some comments regarding other parts of his statement yesterday – less on substance but more on theatre:

    “I continue to have full confidence in Jody.”
    But You demoted her.
    And patronized her.
    And shamed her.
    And the question isn’t about confidence in her but in you!

    Trudeau “Welcomes” Ethics Commissioner probe.
    Like welcoming herpes.

  14. barn E. rubble says:

    RE: WK
    “And it raised even more questions.”

    Like: Am I the only one wondering if there’s any connection to when (and perhaps more importantly; why) ‘remediation deals’ were introduced into law (professionally buried) and this case? It appears to be more than just a coincidence this happened after the SNC-Lava-flow of corruption first exploded but in time to be used – I’m sure, only if necessary – because there was no other option to avoid trial.

  15. Anna DeCiantis says:

    Long time lurker. First time poster.

    This whole affair is sickening. Keep after them Warren.

    Jody Wilson-Reybold just resigned from cabinet. I guess she didn’t take Trudeau having “full confidence” in her as a compliment 😉

  16. Ian says:

    She just resigned

  17. B Marcille says:

    And today she’s quit cabinet and is retaining a lawyer.

    WOW!

  18. Steve T says:

    She just resigned from cabinet. Hoo boy, this is gonna get interesting.

    • barn E. rubble says:

      RE: Steve T says:
      “She just resigned from cabinet.”

      For personal reason’s? IE: as Brison did . I’m sure JWR’s resignation is also just a coincidence . . . Har-de-har . . .

      But then there’s this, ” . . . she said she has retained the services of lawyer Thomas Cromwell, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, to advise her on “topics that I am legally permitted to discuss on this matter.”

      Heard elsewhere in Ottawa, ” Uh-oh.”

  19. doconnor says:

    Removing her when she didn’t make the decision they wanted suddenly makes it a big deal.

    • barn E. rubble says:

      RE: doconnor

      You get it. Apparently Art doesn’t.

      RE:”Not a big deal contrary to yours and many opposition parties opinion.”

      Well, as long as being fired from a high profile cabinet position isn’t considered a big deal by anyone (I’m guessing Art will excuse JWR from thinking it was a big deal.) Nor why you were fired from a high profile cabinet position is considered a big deal (again, I’m sure Art will excuse JWR from thinking it was a big deal.). Art obviously has a different interpretation of what a ‘big deal’ is than some us that see it as a big deal.

      Art, take note: when the CBC reports anything that might be seen as even the slightest bit negative to the Liberal party, it is a big deal.

  20. Nasty Bob says:

    What day in October did they speak ? Whenever that would have been -at max – it was 43 days after DPA ‘s became an option . Hypothetically did the convo go something like this ?
    PM : hey just wondering what’s the hold up for the DPA for SNC – you know the whole point of the legislation was to make their problem go away all rule of lawy like . And you know what they say …..share price go the wrong way every day with out a DPA

    AG: well my people are telling me there’s no justice when a company can use the same formula to get out of a problem that got them in to the problem in the first place -i.e. illegal bribes and donations. A DPA requires the offender to stop its wrongdoing but this DPA , could be seen -at the very least , as a reward for the very wrongdoing it’s supposed to stop. ….A DPA requires my consent and I’m not giving it

    pM: well yes under the legislation it’s your decision but …blah blah blah etc

    • barn E. rubble says:

      RE:Nasty Bob says:
      “What day in October did they speak ? Whenever that would have been -at max – it was 43 days after DPA ‘s became an option .”

      My thoughts exactly. But the spin will be it was purely coincidence . Perhaps that’s why the legislation was buried (professionally) and nobody noticed. Good job. Or so they thought.

      But now what?

      Plan B: Better call Saul

  21. Lance says:

    To state and emphasize the blantantly obvious the way he just did is the biggest “nudge nudge wink wink” to date, especially when he holding his hand behind his back while doing it.

    One way or the other, he is finished.

  22. Gilbert says:

    Any decisions are yours alone. Translation: That’s the official line, OK? Any information I give you regarding this matter must never be repeated. You never heard it.

  23. barn E. rubble says:

    RE:Nasty Bob says:
    “Whenever that would have been -at max – it was 43 days after DPA ‘s became an option .”

    Further to my surmise that deferred and non-prosecution agreements (N/PAs) were introduced and then passed into law only after it was clear that no other option existed to keep SNC from going to trial.

    I’m sure the Libranos will have answers for N/Pas becoming law when it did. And why/when it did. Stand by with your shovel and high boots. It’ll be deep and constant.

    This ‘is’ the Liberal Party. The new boss is the same as the old boss. Somebody should write a song . . . too bad we don’t anybody in a band.

  24. barn E. rubble says:

    RE:Nasty Bob says:
    “Whenever that would have been -at max – it was 43 days after DPA ‘s became an option .”

    Further to my surmise that deferred and non-prosecution agreements (N/PAs) were introduced and then passed into law only after it was clear that no other option existed to keep SNC from going to trial.

    I’m sure the Libranos will have answers for N/Pas becoming law when it did. And why/when it did. Stand by with your shovel and high boots. It’ll be deep and constant.

    This ‘is’ the Liberal Party. The new boss is the same as the old boss. Somebody should write a song . . . too bad we don’t know anybody in a band.

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