April 15, 2024
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The country’s top bureaucrat warned Jody Wilson-Raybould that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was “quite determined” to prevent SNC-Lavalin’s criminal trial from leading to job losses and wanted to know why the then-justice minister hadn’t used a new legal tool to allow the company to avoid a criminal trial.

A recording made by Wilson-Raybould of a 17-minute Dec. 19 call between herself and Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick was released today, along with 43 pages of emails, texts and a written statement from Wilson-Raybould herself which were tabled to the Commons justice committee.

Wernick who was not aware he was being recorded told the minister there was “rising anxiety” over the fate of a major employer.

“He’s quite determined, quite firm,” Wernick said of the prime minister’s position on getting a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) for the Quebec-based engineering company. “But he wants to know why the DPA route, which Parliament provided for, isn’t being used. And I think he’s going to find a way to get it done, one way or another.

In her written statement, Wilson-Raybould explains why she recorded the call.

She said she normally has a staff member present to take careful notes, but on this occasion she was alone in her Vancouver condo.

“I was anxious to ensure that I had an exact record of what was discussed as I had reason to believe that it was likely to be an an inappropriate conversation,” she wrote.

“So while I typed out notes during the phone call, I took the extraordinary and otherwise inappropriate step of making an audio recording of the conversation without so advising the Clerk. This is something that I have never done before this phone call and have not done since.”

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