Regarding Allegations of Political Interference by the Prime Minister’s Office
Constituents have been asking about the serious allegations of political interference in a criminal prosecution involving the Prime Minister’s office and senior Political staff in the Liberal Party – it has been a major story since the public was made aware of these concerns several weeks ago. In order to better explain what happened I am providing this timeline of events to help address some of the questions I have heard. As a member of the Official Opposition, I can tell you that we are very concerned with the allegations of misconduct and we are doing everything possible to force transparency from the Prime Minister on this issue.
SNC-Lavalin Affair – Timeline of Events
2016 – 2018 – Hundreds of meetings between PMO, Minister’s senior political staff and SNC-Lavalin
- This includes former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Gerald Butts, Senior Advisors Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques, and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick
September 4, 2018 – Director of Public Prosecutions tells SNC-Lavalin that the trial will go ahead. At this point anyone would need a lawful authority to stop the trial. This was the beginning of a months-long unsolicited, coordinated and sustained attempt to stop the trial of SNC-Lavalin on bribery charges.
- Trudeau and his closest advisors made at least four distinct efforts to stop the trial: this occurred on September 17, December 5, December 18 and December 19.
September 17, 2018 – SNC-Lavalin writes to the Director of Public Prosecutions asking her to stop the trial.
- This was the first of at least three letters that we know of, from the company to the Director to try and stop the trial.
September 17, 2018 –Trudeau and Wernick meet with Wilson-Raybould to discuss the prosecution.
September 18, 2018 – After meeting Wernick, SNC Lavalin writes again to the Director of Public Prosecutions, asking her to stop the trial.
September 24, 2018 – SNC-Lavalin once again writes to the Director of Public Prosecutions, asking her to stop the trial.
October 10, 2018 – SNC-Lavalin publishes a news release informing Canadians of the Director of Public Prosecutions decision to proceed with the trial. SNC-Lavalin shares fell by 15%.
October 15, 2018 – SNC-Lavalin writes to Trudeau demanding him to stop the trial
October 19, 2018 – SNC-Lavalin files for judicial review
October 29, 2018 – SNC-Lavalin is in court on their bribery and corruption charges
Month of November – Allegedly nothing happens on this file
December 5, 2018 – Butts meets with Wilson-Raybould at the Chateau Laurier to stop the trial.
December 6, 2018 – Trudeau writes to SNC-Lavalin referring the matter of their trial to the attention of Wilson-Raybould.
December 18, 2018 – Senior staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, including Telford and Butts, call Jessica Prince, Chief of Staff to Wilson-Raybould, to pressure her to stop the trial.
December 19, 2018 – Wernick has lunch with Trudeau and his senior political staff to continue the unsolicited, coordinated and sustained attempt to stop the trial.
December 19, 2018 – Following instruction from Trudeau, Wernick calls Wilson-Raybould to pressure her to stop the trial and provide “context”, two months after being informed that she will not intervene.
January 6, 2019 –Trudeau informs Wilson-Raybould that she is being fired as Attorney General.
January 14, 2019 – Wilson-Raybould is officially fired as Attorney General, and she publishes a five-page open letter, stating her willingness to “speak truth to power”. She is replaced with an Attorney General willing to stop the trial.
February 7, 2019 – Globe and Mail story breaks that there was inappropriate pressure. Trudeau claims the story is false, in his first version of the story.
February 8, 2019 – Conservative Members of the Justice Committee request emergency hearings into this matter.
February 8, 2019 – Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary for Justice claims that no one in the government pressured Wilson-Raybould
February 10, 2019 – Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer sends a letter to Trudeau demanding that he waive his Solicitor-Client privilege to allow the former Attorney General to speak.
February 11, 2019 – Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion launches investigation
February 11, 2019 – In a new version of his story, Trudeau says that Wilson-Raybould’s presence in Cabinet speaks for itself.
February 12, 2019 – Wilson-Raybould resigns from Cabinet
February 12, 2019 – Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer sends a letter to Trudeau demanding the preservation of documents and reminding officials that destroying documents may be a criminal offence.
February 13, 2019 – Trudeau further changes his story for the third time, saying that he is disappointed with Wilson-Raybould and that she should have raised issues directly with him.
February 13, 2019 – Liberals on the Justice Committee vote to block nearly all requested witnesses
February 15, 2019 –Trudeau changes his story for the fourth time, saying that if Scott Brison hasn’t resigned, Wilson-Raybould would still be Attorney General.
February 18, 2019 – Butts resigns from the Prime Minister’s Office, claiming he did nothing wrong.
February 21, 2019 – In testifying before the Justice Committee, Wernick confirms that he and other senior political officials “pressured” Wilson-Raybould to stop the trial
February 25, 2019 – 15 days after Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer requests it, Trudeau partially waives solicitor-client privilege.
February 26, 2019 – The Justice Committee invites Wilson-Raybould to appear at committee on February 27 at 3:15 PM.