The Liberal-dominated Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights adopted a motion to interview three witnesses for an investigation into the alleged SNC-Lavalin political interference allegations.
The list, which includes the current Attorney General, David Lametti, fails to include two key individuals involved in the SNC-Lavalin fiasco, including Gerald Butts, and the former Justice Minister and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould herself.
Wilson-Raybould has since resigned from her position as the Minister of Veterans Affairs in the Liberal cabinet.
Opposition parties have been calling for a Justice Committee investigation into accusations that the Prime Minister’s Office attempted to pressure the former Attorney General to intervene in criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin.
During the meeting, the Liberals also arranged that the interviews be done “in camera” or behind closed doors and without transparency.
“It means in secret, no media, no transcripts, no public information, nothing. Total silence,” said Conservative MP, Pierre Poilievre.
Using their house majority, the Liberals defeated a bipartisan NDP–Conservative motion to add Butts and Wilson-Raybould to the witness list.
“We don’t have the tools, we don’t have the budget, we don’t have the mechanisms to go through the kind of fishing expedition and witch hunt the Conservatives would like to see.” said Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault.
NDP MP Nathan Cullen disagreed. Cullen argues, “Of course we have the power, the question is whether or not we want to use the power or not.”
A later amendment brought forward by the Conservatives, to waive Wilson-Raybould’s solicitor-client privilege and allow her to testify was also shut down by the Liberal majority committee.
“That is not an investigation, that is just simply going through the motions,” said NDP MP Nathan Cullen shortly after the justice committee adjourned.
Another separate investigation by the ethics commissioner was also launched shortly after the accusations came to light in the Globe and Mail. However, this investigation could take months to complete.
Although the original intent for the Justice Committee meeting was supposed to be a thorough inquiry into the key players involved in the SNC-Lavalin affair, the governing Liberals have widened the study’s scope.