From the very first time I met Jane, and spoke at her riding association many years ago, I believed her to be principled and brilliant. And the kind of person we need in public life.
It will find a way out.
Q: When you left cabinet, did you have a strategic goal in mind? What was the point of resigning?
A: I resigned because I could not maintain solidarity with cabinet on the specific issue of the management of the SNC-Lavalin issue. I felt that there was evidence of an attempt to politically interfere with the justice system in its work on the criminal trial that has been described by some as the most important and serious prosecution of corporate corruption in modern Canadian history.
A: No. There’s much more to the story that should be told.
Q: What sort of stuff?
A: I believe the former attorney general has further points to make. I believe that I have further issues of concern that I’m not free to share. There was a reference by Gerry Butts in his testimony of the fact that I spoke to the Prime Minister on January the 6th about SNC-Lavalin’s desire to have a DPA [deferred prosecution agreement]. This was more than a month before the story became public. And I ordinarily would have not been allowed to share that information. But of course it’s already on the public record from the Justice Committee. I think Canadians might want to know why I would have raised that with the Prime Minister a month before the public knew about it. Why would I have felt that there was a reason why former Minister Wilson-Raybould should not be shuffled?
Q: In what forum would you like to discuss all of this?
A: My sense is that Canadians would like to know the whole story. I believe we actually owe it to Canadians as politicians to ensure that they have the truth. They need to have confidence in the very basic constitutional principle of the independence of the justice system.
Q: Mr. Butts said, essentially, ‘Come on, this doesn’t rise to the level of harassment, or bugging, or even sustained engagement. It’s 20 interactions over four months. It’s two phone calls and two meetings per month.’
A: The constitutional principle of the independence of the justice system is such that the attorney general of our country should not be subjected to political interference in any way. Whether there is one attempt to interfere or whether there are 20 attempts to interfere, that crosses ethical and constitutional lines.
Q: Now there’s an Ethics Commissioner investigation. Michael Wernick seemed to have a lot of confidence in the Ethics Commissioner. Do you think that can capture everything that needs capturing?
A: My sense is that they will not have the appropriate tools to be able to get at all of this.
Q: What’s missing?
A: If nothing wrong took place, then why don’t we waive privilege on the whole issue and let those who have something to say on it speak their minds and share their stories?
Q: The Finance Minister [Bill Morneau] said your resignation from cabinet was an expression of personal friendship with Jody Wilson-Raybould. What do you make of that?
A: I think that’s an insult.
Q: How so?
A: I don’t make decisions on any policy — and definitely not on a matter of principle — based on friendship. I made the very difficult decision to step down because my conscience demanded it.