The Canadian Politician (Toronto) – Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former Justice and Veterans Affairs minister who is at the centre of the SNC-Lavalin controversy, on Thursday, won the hearts of members of the House of Commons with a brief yet passionate speech. However, the hearts won were not those of her Liberal Party members, but rather, the Conservative opposition. The former Veteran Affairs minister received a standing ovation from the Conservative Party members after her Wilson-Raybould spoke from the heart.
The speech came after the Liberal majority members voted overwhelming against public inquiry into allegations that the prime minister or his office interfered in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based tech giant. The company is being prosecuted by the government for bribery of Libyan government officials to secure contract government contracts. A conviction would mean that the company will not have access to government of Canada contracts for 10 years.
In her herald speech, the MP representing Vancouver-Granville in British Columbia stated, “I would ask that the record show that I abstain from voting on that matter. I have said that I am seeking counsel on this matter of what I can and cannot say. I understand fully that Canadians want to know the truth and want transparency. Privilege and confidentiality are not mine to waive, and I hope that I have the opportunity to speak my truth.” The former minister recused herself from the vote to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest being the main focus of the controversy.
The motion put forward by NDP’s Charlie Angus, also included the provision that the prime minister waive the solicitor-client privilege to allow Wilson-Raybould to tell Canadians what truly transpired. Wilson-Raybould resigned her post as veteran Affairs minister after she was sent to that ministry in January’s cabinet reshuffle, a move many have deemed a demotion from the highly sought grade A Ministry of Justice.