Opposition MPs hurled angry claims of a “coverup” today after Liberals used their majority to shut down an emergency meeting of the committee probing the SNC-Lavalin affair.
The meeting was requested by Conservative and NDP members to press the Liberals to recall Jody Wilson-Raybould to testify again, even though the Liberals already had defeated a similar motion.
But less than 30 minutes after the meeting began, the Liberals voted to adjourn.
“I have never been so disgusted by the conduct of my Liberal colleagues,” said Conservative MP Michael Cooper after the committee broke.
“They have done the bidding of the PMO.”
Opposition MPs were making another bid to bring the former attorney general back to testify before the committee today, warning that Canadians would see any attempt by the Liberals to block them as evidence of a “coverup.”
While casting their votes, opposition MPs shouted at their Liberal counterparts, calling their actions “despicable” and “disgusting.”
“I’m strongly voting opposed and I’m shocked at the behaviour of my colleagues,” said NDP MP Tracey Ramsey.
The committee is scheduled to meet next on Mar. 19 — a closed session that coincides with the tabling of the federal budget.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of ordering Liberal committee members to shut down the hearing so “Canadians will never know the truth.” He said Tuesday’s meeting is “secret” and that the Liberal majority can shut it down whenever it wants.
“Justin Trudeau is transforming the justice committee into the Justin committee,” he said.
Liberal MP Francis Drouin, who put forward the motion to adjourn, insisted it was a matter of procedure since next week’s meeting to deal with potential witnesses had been scheduled already.
“It’s as simple as that,” he told reporters, as most other Liberal members dodged the microphone and made quick exits.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tweeted about the committee developments, calling them “shocking.”
Scheer announced Sunday the Conservatives were launching an online campaign urging Trudeau to “let her speak.”
Poilievre had told CBC News it’s crucial for the committee to hear from Wilson-Raybould again, given major discrepancies between her version of events and last week’s testimony from Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s close friend and former principal secretary. He said Trudeau also must fully waive cabinet confidence and client-solicitor privilege so that she can give a complete account of what happened.
“She says material events happened after she was removed as attorney general but before she resigned from cabinet. She said she wants to tell Canadians what happened,” Poilievre said.
“The prime minister has the legal authority to allow her to do so. If he doesn’t, he’s got something to hide.”