Government Waives Privilege and Confidence Regarding SNC-Lavalin

The Government continued to implement a perplexing communications strategy in this matter. During Question Period on February 25th the Prime Minister was asked about waiver of privilege and replied

“Later today, the government will confirm that the member for Vancouver-Granville will be able to address relevant matters at the committee while ensuring that the two active court cases are not jeopardized,”

Ye a few hours later the Government published an Order in Council that waives all privilege and cabinet confidentiality regarding the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin and the exercise of the Attorney-General’s authority under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act. The only limitation is that the waiver does not extend to any “information or communications between the former Attorney-General and the Director of Public Prosecutions concerning SNC-Lavalin.”

One minor grammatic quibble – it is unclear to me what is meant by information between two parties. However, that aside, this is about as broad a waiver as could be granted. It applies to the AG and her staff and all persons who communicated with her or her staff, excepting the DPP.

I do not see the limitation in the waiver regarding communications between the AG and DPP to be significant. I would be surprised if there were any such communications. There is a remote possibility that the DPP may have sent the AG an advisory note after she determined that a remediation agreement was not appropriate.

The Prime Minister had to have known the extent of the OiC when he stood up in Question Period. The reasoning behind the answer that he gave in Question Period is mystifying. He was vague when a clear answer was certainly available.

And with that we will hear what Ms. Wilson-Raybould has to say about all of this when she appears before the Justice Committee on Wednesday.

I will be interested to see whether there were conversations prior to December 19th between Mr. Wernick and Ms. Wilson-Raybould regarding other ongoing criminal conversations. Of interest as well will be what was communicated to her regarding the December 18th meeting between PMO Staffers Katie Telford and Gerald Butts with her Chief of Staff Jessica Prince. I predict further witnesses.

Author: Tom Jarmyn