Tories threaten to delay budget unless Wilson-Raybould makes 2nd appearance

by - 3 min read

Tories threaten to delay budget unless Wilson-Raybould makes 2nd appearance

by - 3 min read


The Conservatives are warning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to brace for huge backlash — including tactics to stall the release of the budget — if the Liberal majority on the House of Commons justice committee blocks Jody Wilson-Raybould from testifying again. 

“We as Conservatives are going to use every parliamentary tool in the toolkit to end the coverup and let her speak,” finance critic Pierre Poilievre told reporters on Sunday, speaking about the ongoing SNC-Lavalin affair. 

“If he thinks Canadians will quietly let him shut down the investigation, he’s in for a terrible surprise next week.”

The former justice minister and attorney general addressed the committee last month, offering unprecedented testimony alleging the prime minister, members of his top staff and other government officials had pressured her to help secure a special legal agreement for SNC-Lavalin through the director of public prosecutions. The company is facing bribery and corruption charges that could lead to it being barred from bidding on federal contracts, affecting thousands of jobs.

The committee is scheduled to meet in private Tuesday morning, ahead of the unveiling of the federal budget for 2019. 

The Conservatives are set up to potentially trigger a marathon voting session in the House of Commons on Monday that could delay the tabling of the budget.

Conservatives tabling opposed votes

They have put forward opposed votes on previously announced federal initiatives, each of which would necessitate a vote in the House. They have tabled 196 opposed votes. 

Each of these votes is a fiscal matter, so every vote is a vote of confidence, which would keep Liberal MPs close to their seats. A loss of confidence could trigger an election.

Because of the sheer number of votes, the sitting of the Commons could be extended overnight — similar to what the Conservatives did last March in retaliation after Liberals opposed having Trudeau’s national security adviser talk to committee about his India trip.

If the sitting gets extended, it could potentially delay the budget. 

“All eyes should be on those closed doors at the justice committee meeting,” Poilievre said, when asked if the Conservatives would force the votes to interrupt budget day.

If the Liberals vote down Conservative and NDP attempts to have her return, the Conservatives could force that long list of votes..  

Budget, interrupted

Budget 2019 comes in a high-stakes election year and could be as much about shoring up sliding Liberal support as it is about fiscal policy.

Wilson-Raybould said she was only able to address the events surrounding SNC-Lavalin that happened before she was shuffled out of the attorney general position. During his appearance, Gerald Butts, the former principal secretary to Trudeau, spoke of things that occurred after the move. 

In a letter to her constituents this week, the Vancouver MP said she had more to say on the topic. Opposition MPs called an emergency meeting of the committee on Wednesday to debate whether to allow her to speak again, but the Liberal majority shut it down within 30 minutes. 

Liberal MP Francis Drouin, who triggered the sudden adjournment of the meeting, insists there’s been no attempt by the government to coverup the SNC-Lavalin affair, and says it’s time to turn the page on the controversy.

“I think I’ve heard enough,” he said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning. “Ms. Wilson-Raybould has said, in response to Elizabeth May and Nathan Cullen, that nothing illegal was committed, nothing criminal was committed.”

This story originally appeared on CBC