Five things Canada learned at the justice committee from Butts, Drouin

GETTY Justin Trudeau holds a press briefing during the United Nations General Assembly

Wilson-Raybould had not been hounded or pressured to change her mind about the decision to proceed to trial against SNC-Lavalin; he had not said that any solution to the SNC-Lavalin case would require some form of interference in the justice process; and 10 or 11 contacts with high-ranking public office holders, including the prime minister, Butts, the Clerk of the Privy Council and officials from the PMO, did not amount to hounding or pressure.

Wilson-Raybould testified she believes she lost the justice job because she didn't give in to "sustained" and "inappropriate pressure" to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin.

A motion was put forward at the committee to have Wilson-Raybould return to respond to Butts' testimony, but it was defeated by the Liberal majority on the committee. Butts said that decision had nothing to do with SNC-Lavalin, and that her objections around SNC only ramped up around that time. A former health minister and Indigenous-services minister who was president of the federal Treasury Board when she quit the cabinet, Philpott was widely seen as one of Trudeau's most capable ministers.

Wilson-Raybould, unexpectedly demoted to the veterans affairs ministry in January, quit on February 12 after less than a month in her new job.

"We felt that outside advice was appropriate because of the extraordinary circumstances", Butts told lawmakers on the House of Commons justice committee.

A leading Cabinet minister in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Prime Minister Trudeau's government resigned Monday, becoming the second minister to step down over a scandal that has shaken the government in an election year.

Butts admitted that Trudeau and his staff had encouraged Wilson-Raybould to seek an outside legal opinion from a former Supreme Court of Canada justice to discuss the possibility of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) for SNC-Lavalin. If convicted criminally, SNC-Lavalin would be banned from receiving any federal government business for a decade.

Both she and Philpott have said they intend to remain in the Liberal caucus, despite no longer having confidence in the prime minister.

More news: China urges India, Pakistan against 'expansion' of tensions

Despite all of his huggy-bear, kissy-face posturing in front of the committee, including the claim that he didn't want to "cast aspersions" on his former colleague, Butts tossed former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould into the wood chipper.

He also claimed that one of the meetings, a two-hour dinner between himself and Wilson-Raybould at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottowa on December 5, was at her request, and was an overwhelmingly positive discussion. "Imagine for a moment that on September the 16th-the day the former attorney general told this committee the decision was made, firmly and finally-that she made a public announcement to inform Canadians of that decision".

A former key aide to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is at the centre of a major political crisis, on Wednesday denied he had pressured the then-justice minister to allow a major firm to avoid a corruption trial previous year.

"That is two meetings and two phone calls per month for the minister and her office on an issue that could cost a minimum of 9,000 Canadians their job", said Butts. Gerald Butts, his closest adviser and best friend, also resigned last month and is scheduled to testify Wednesday before a Parliament justice committee in Trudeau's defense.

Since Wilson-Raybould's testimony, opposition parties have called for Wernick, who is supposed to be non-partisan, to be fired.

The Liberals say they found Butts credible while Conservative and NDP MPs say they did not.

Canada's ethics commissioner is investigating the affair but that will take months. The only explanation I can think of is that he believed if he repeated the statement about 9,000 lost jobs roughly 9,000 times, it would become true.

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