Political, Indigenous leaders react to Jody Wilson-Raybould's explosive testimony
Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould's testimony claiming she faced “veiled threats” and political interference in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin quickly sparked reaction across Canada Wednesday.
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- Full text: Read Jody Wilson-Raybould's testimony here
"For a period of approximately four months, between September and December of 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada," Wilson-Raybould told the House of Commons justice committee.
Her explosive testimony left critics ready to pounce on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government.
"Justin Trudeau cannot continue to govern this country now that Canadians know what he's done," Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told reporters after Wilson-Raybould's testimony.
"Like you, I was sickened and appalled by her story of inappropriate and, frankly, bordering on illegal pressure."
Those concerns were followed up by the leader of the NDP.
"This is unprecedented testimony that bolsters our arguments and our calls for a public inquiry," Jagmeet Singh told reporters.
In a marathon, four-hour testimony, Wilson-Raybould told the committee a total of 11 people – including individuals from the Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council Office – were involved in exerting pressure on her and her staff by way of approximately 10 phone calls, 10 meetings as well as numerous emails and text messages.
The former attorney general added that she believes she was shuffled out of her role as justice minister because she refused to give in to the pressure.
Addressing media in Montreal later in the day, Trudeau said he disagrees with Wilson-Raybould's characterization of any involvement the PMO might have had in the SNC-Lavalin matter.
The prime minister has also denied that he or anyone in his office did anything illegal and continued to do so on Wednesday.
Some of those outside federal politics commended Wilson-Raybould for coming forward in the first place.
Watching near her riding of Vancouver-Granville, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip called her testimony courageous and meticulous.
"At long last, we were able to hear her speak with great courage, with dignity and strength," he told CTV. "I think it's shocking to anyone that heard the truth."
Despite her stunning testimony, Wilson-Raybould said she has no intentions of quitting the Liberal Party.
"I don't anticipate being kicked out of caucus," she said after the testimony. "I was elected by the constituents of Vancouver-Granville to represent them as a Liberal Member of Parliament."
The RCMP first laid corruption and fraud charges against SNC-Lavalin in February 2015 over allegations that it used bribery as it sought government business in Libya.
The Montreal-based construction giant has said the allegations are without merit.
If the company is convicted, it could be banned from bidding for federal projects for 10 years
With files from CTV Vancouver's St. John Alexander and The Canadian Press