Butts experienced Lavscam differently

Lorrie Goldstein

The Liberals say it’s no big deal Gerald Butts, who resigned on Feb. 18 as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary at the height of the Lavscam scandal, is back in the Liberal fold.

Nor that Trudeau’s closest friend and top political adviser — whom Trudeau told the Liberal caucus after his 2015 election victory speaks for him — will be taking on a key role in the Oct. 21 election campaign.

Does that mean Trudeau and Co. won’t make it an issue if, say, Ontario Premier Doug Ford brings back his former chief of staff, Dean French, into the Progressive Conservative fold five months from now? Doubt it.

Back in the real world, let’s recall Butts’ pivotal role in Lavscam, about which he has maintained from the beginning he did nothing wrong.

Butts testified before the Liberal-controlled justice committee that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould never expressed concern to him or Trudeau about pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office to grant a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to SNC-Lavalin on charges of fraud and corruption.

But Wilson-Raybould testified that at a Sept. 17, 2018 meeting with Trudeau and then privy council clerk Michael Wernick, they inappropriately pressured her to grant the DPA.

“(T)he prime minister jumped in, stressing that there is an election in Quebec and that, ‘I am an MP in Quebec, the member for Papineau,’” Wilson-Raybould testified.

“I was quite taken aback. My response, and I vividly remember this as well, was to ask the prime minister a direct question while looking him in the eye. I asked: ‘Are you politically interfering with my role, my decision as the attorney general? I would strongly advise against it.’ The prime minister said: ‘No, no, no, we just need to find a solution.’”

Perhaps Wilson-Raybould, experienced pressure differently.

Butts criticized Wilson-Raybould for taking “just 12 days” to confirm the decision of the director of public prosecutions of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to proceed with criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin.


full story at https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/goldstein-butts-experienced-lavscam-differently

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