Liberals block push for ethics committee probe of SNC-Lavalin scandal

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Liberal members of the House of Commons ethics committee have blocked a push from opposition members for the committee to open a new probe and invite former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to testify on the SNC-Lavalin scandal, which continues to engulf the Liberal government.

In a meeting just one week after the justice committee, also Liberal-controlled, shut down its limited probe into the allegations of attempted political interference in the SNC-Lavalin case, wildcard Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith indicated he would not support the call for further study of the matter at this stage.

While he was the only Liberal member to speak to the motion, he said his colleagues were letting him speak for them.

All Liberal members subsequently voted against the motion, while the Conservatives and NDP voted for it.

Conservative MP Peter Kent had presented a motion to the committee calling for it to study the allegations, ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to waive further privilege allowing Wilson-Raybould and others to speak more openly on the matter, for her and former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott to appear no later than April 5, and for the committee to present a report of its findings to Parliament.

Jane Philpott, formerly president of the Treasury Board, resigned earlier this month in protest over Trudeau’s handling of the allegations.

She said in her statement she had “lost confidence” in how he was addressing the matter and later said in an interview with Maclean’s Magazine that there is “much more” to the issue that Canadians need to hear, also adding that Trudeau and his officials were trying to “shut down” the story.