Order-in-council waives solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality for Jody Wilson-Raybould

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      Update: The parliamentary justice committee has accepted Jody Wilson-Raybould's request to be allowed to give a half-hour opening statement and she's scheduled to speak at 12:15 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday.

      The federal cabinet has taken the extraordinary decision of opening the door wider for the former justice minister to speak to the House justice committee.

      Tonight, an order-in-council was released waiving cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege for Jody Wilson-Raybould and any other people "who directly participated in dicussions with her relating to the exercise of her authority" regarding the proseuction of SNC-Lavalin.

      This immunity has only been granted with regard to Wilson-Raybould speaking to the justice committee and the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner.

      It does not extend to her speaking freely about these matters with the media or anyone else.

      Wilson-Raybould has written to the committee asking for a half-hour to make an opening statement should she testify.

      She's expected to appear before the committee as early as Wednesday (February 27).

      The Globe and Mail reported earlier this month that staff in the prime minister's office pressured Wilson-Raybould to overrule the director of public prosecutions and halt the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on bribery charges.

      The paper reported that these staff wanted her to proceed instead with a deferred prosecution agreement. Wilson-Raybould refused to do this and she was shuffled out of the justice minister and transferred to the ministry of veterans affairs.

      She later resigned from cabinet.

      The clerk of the privy council—in effect, Justin Trudeau's deputy minister—told the justice committee last week that Wilson-Raybould was under pressure to make the right decision regarding the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. But Michael Wernick denied that this amounted to "inappropriate pressure".

      He spoke to her about SNC-Lavalin's economic impact in Canada on December 19, more than three months after Wilson-Raybould told him and Trudeau that she  wouldn't override the director of public prosecutions.

      You can read the cabinet order below:

      Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, for the purposes of the hearings before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the examination by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner:

      (a) authorizes the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former Attorney General, and any persons who directly participated in discussions with her relating to the exercise of her authority under the Director of Public Prosecutions Actrespecting the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, to disclose to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner any confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada contained in any information or communications that were directly discussed with her respecting the exercise of that authority while she held that office; and

      (b) for the purposes of disclosure to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner by the former Attorney General, and any persons who directly participated in discussions with her, waives, to the extent they apply, solicitor-client privilege and any other relevant duty of confidentiality to the Government of Canada in regards to any information or communications in relation to the exercise of the authority of the Attorney General under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act that were directly discussed with the former Attorney General respecting the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin while she held that office.

      However, in order to uphold the integrity of any criminal or civil proceedings, this authorization and waiver does not extend to any information or communications between the former Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions concerning SNC-Lavalin.