How much more of the SNC-Lavalin scandal can the Liberals take? The matter has derailed their agenda for almost eight weeks. It keeps chugging along, superseding the budget and now the federal carbon tax (in effect as of Monday, in case you forgot) as a news story.
It has provoked the resignation of two cabinet ministers, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, as well as the PM’s chief adviser, Gerald Butts, and the clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick. And in an homage to Watergate, we now have a tape featuring Wernick and Wilson-Raybould doing a pas-a-deux around the core of this whole affair: prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.
On the recording, Wernick clearly articulates that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants the deferred prosecution agreement done “one way or the other.” Just as clearly, Wilson-Raybould articulates that the pressure being applied is inappropriate and constitutes political interference. The implication of their exchange is clear. The PM lied when he said that Wilson-Raybould never conveyed that she felt pressured. “Oh, if she had only come to me,” he sorrowfully intoned at many a subsequent press conference.
It’s now clear that Trudeau’s emissaries knew full well of her discomfort, and that nothing would be achieved by going to the very person who was demanding that she do what she knew to be wrong.