PM apologizes for not condemning 'unacceptable' personal attacks against Wilson-Raybould

Centre Block Parliament Hill

PM apologizes for not condemning 'unacceptable' personal attacks against Wilson-Raybould

Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould says she still can not publicly explain her decision to leave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet but is looking forward to talking to her fellow caucus members.

Wilson-Raybould, who remains the Liberal MP for Vancouver-Granville and attended Wednesday's caucus meeting, told reporters she knows it is frustrating for many people that she has not commented further on her cabinet resignation.

In January, Wilson-Raybould was shuffled into the veterans-affairs portfolio in January but resigned last week, hours after Trudeau suggested her continued presence in cabinet indicated nothing untoward had happened involving SNC-Lavalin.

But Justin Trudeau won't say if he will be waiving solicitor-client privilege so she can speak freely during her testimony.

Gerald Butts, Trudeau's long-time friend who resigned his post as principal secretary on Monday despite saying he had done nothing wrong, will not be called, nor will anyone else from Trudeau's office.

PM Trudeau originally had stated that the entire story was false, claiming that he had never directed Ms. Wilson-Raybould to squash the prosecution.

It is not clear when Wilson-Raybould might appear.

"My ethical and professional responsibilities as a lawyer are layered and incredibly complicated so I am still working with my lawyer".

Trudeau, who made the remarks before a regular weekly meeting of the Liberal caucus, faced questions about the NDP's proposal for a broader public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin controversy dogging the government.

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The committee met behind closed doors Tuesday and agreed to invite Wilson-Raybould.

"I want to be able to ensure that I am confident in what I can and can't say".

The House of Commons justice committee had also been set to hear from its first witness in a limited probe of the affair later in the afternoon.

"The coverup continues", said Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus after the closed-door committee meeting. Opposition parties maintain she was demoted because she wouldn't instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin, rather than pursue a criminal conviction that could see the company barred from bidding on public contracts for 10 years.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the interim House of Commons in the West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 20, 2019.

Wilson-Raybould would not comment on what was discussed during the meeting, and whether she addressed more than 170 of her colleagues, but Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that the "mood and the human feelings were just fine", inside the room.

After Wilson-Raybould quit, some media organizations ran stories and cartoons denigrating her and Trudeau said he had apologized to the former minister on Wednesday for not condemning the commentaries earlier.

This scandal is hurting the Liberals with voters that are paying attention and anxious what it means for the justice system in Canada. She has hired a former Supreme Court justice to advise her on what she may legally say. "It'll make the determination as to who it needs to hear from, but I think it is important that there be an airing on this situation", Trudeau said. "Of course we are going to be very careful about how we move forward in protecting those jobs but we are also going to, at the same time, make sure that we are standing up for the independence of our judicial system and all the processes that keep our democratic institutions safe".

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