Only the beginning...

“Witch hunt.”

If you thought Donald Trump uttered those words, you would be wrong.

It came directly out of the mouth of a Liberal MP during yesterday’s emergency Justice Committee meeting.

He let it slip out and it looked like he meant it.

He really, really doesn’t want the Justice Committee to investigate the alleged inappropriate political interference that was put on Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Another Liberal MP went as far as saying that this whole issue is “making hay out of nothing”.

No one knows if she just meant opposition MPs. If she hasn't noticed, a lot of people are asking questions, most notably everyday concerned Canadians.

Maybe this Liberal MP is right. Maybe the Globe and Mail and Jody Wilson-Raybould got it all wrong. Could this all be one giant misunderstanding?

Throughout the committee meeting, the Liberal MPs talked about how committee members could benefit from a legal lesson.

They argued that governmental officials will provide the background information that is sorely needed. Everyone should be able to look at this with the same lens. Their lens.

How kind and generous of them.

More importantly, they want to set the stage and provide the context why Liberal political staff were well within their right to speak to the Attorney General. They want the committee to hear how they didn’t break any rules, even when they spoke to her about who should get a deferred prosecution agreement.

No one knows how many meetings it might take for them to sufficiently soften the ground. It will either prolong the suffering or it might provide enough breathing room to let this bruhaha settle down. Time will tell.

According to Liberal MPs, if Canadians only understood the “Shawcross doctrine”, we would all sleep better at night.

We will get back to this doctrine later on.

As you probably already know, the Liberals voted down any attempt to invite Jody Wilson-Raybould, Gerry Butts, and Katie Telford to testify before the committee. These are the central players that could get to the bottom of this mess.

In a very clever procedural move, the Liberal MPs immediately took control of the meeting.

They moved their own motion that excluded almost every name the Conservatives and NDP put forward. This ensured that they could at least somewhat lead the discussion where they wanted it to go.

Nothing they did was out of order and they followed all the rules. Sure it was a little disruptive, but they didn’t care. It set the tone for the next 2 hours and 48 minutes.

The governing members knew they needed to get control of the narrative and fast. As we’ve seen since last Thursday, this Liberal scandal is spiraling out of control and has a life of its own.

So, what is their master plan?

It involves a lesson in “remediation agreements” and the “Shawcross doctrine”.

With this move, it now confirms that conversations – probably a lot of conversations – went on behind the scenes.

We will hopefully know soon who really wanted SNC Lavalin to be given a deferred prosecution agreement. A sweetheart deal that is now only possible because the Liberals changed the law to allow such a recourse, while making it retroactive.

It is rather ironic the Liberal MPs on the Justice Committee now want to have a legal lesson about deferred prosecutions. Particularly when their own government refused for it to be sent there when it was first introduced in the Liberal omnibus Budget Implementation Act.

The Shawcross doctrine, which we will be taught in the days ahead, states that the Attorney General is permitted to take advice and consult with their Cabinet colleagues, however they are not allowed to “direct” the Attorney General in their final decision.

With this information in hand, we know why Justin Trudeau repeatedly keeps saying he did not “direct” Jody Wilson-Raybould. It is not like he came up with this talking point on his own. His legal counsel is well versed. They know if he keeps repeating that, he won’t incriminate himself or his PMO.

For those who are looking for the coles notes on #LavScam, this whole fiasco boils down to: did the pressure the PMO put on Wilson-Raybould cross the line?

Did the Liberals and the PMO want their Attorney General to reach an agreement with SNC Lavalin so bad, that they were willing to do everything, except issuing an official directive?

That is what we need to find out.

The only way to get to the bottom of this is for the Prime Minister to allow Jody Wilson-Raybould to speak.

We need to know who in the PMO or in Cabinet tried to influence her decision.

What did they say and how did they say it?

And why was she shuffled out of Justice and sent to Veterans Affairs? Was it because she refused to go along?

Was it punishment? Was it to send a message to anyone who dare step out of line?

For those who think the Liberals don’t engage in such skullduggery, please give Scott Simms or Wayne Long a call. They will have a lot to say on this topic.

While the upcoming lessons on the Shawcross doctrine will be interesting for law students, it won’t get us any closer to the truth or the crux of the matter.

In between the debate around the committee table, the Liberals revealed their parliamentary strategy. Their defence will rest in the argument that the PMO was legally permitted to say, and say quite loudly, that SNC Lavalin should get a deferred prosecution agreement.

What they don’t want the committee to find out is what exact pressure, influence, direction, or signal was sent to our former Attorney General.

If the conversation stays in generalities and steeped in legal language, perhaps people will tune out.

What the rest of us want to know, is how was that alleged political interference delivered.

Was it said in passing or in casual conversation?

Or was the Attorney General or her political staff sat down and lectured on the consequences of not giving SNC Lavalin the outcome they wanted?

There are many ways to motivate people, some more acceptable than others.

But make no mistake, the Liberal MPs in committee don’t want those questions to be asked. If they did, they wouldn’t have refused to invite anyone from the PMO or Wilson-Raybould herself.

They keep repeating they are open to more witnesses and perhaps they are. They just forgot to say that no political staff or the former Attorney General will ever be invited to grace their presence.

The only hiccup in this Liberal defence, is that Jody Wilson-Raybould is a lawyer and was a Crown Prosecutor.

If there was someone who understands what sort of influence was inappropriate, it would be her. And it would seem she thought it did.

According to her father, she wants to tell her side of the story. Hence is why she hired a former Supreme Court judge to navigate the complexities to make this happen.

In the coming days and weeks you can be sure the calls to allow her to speak will only get louder.

More details will continue to be revealed. More anonymous sources will find their ways into the papers. Maybe some will even find this debacle useful as a way to settle old scores.

It is only a matter of time before it all breaks open. Some disgruntled Liberal won’t let this crisis go to waste.


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