In the wake of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony on Wednesday, Liberal MPs are lining up behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying he did not act inappropriately and that the pressure the former justice minister says she experienced to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case is normal.
The Globe and Mail contacted every Liberal MP, excluding the Prime Minister, since her testimony and asked if they thought Mr. Trudeau applied inappropriate political pressure on Ms. Wilson-Raybould, if they still support the Prime Minister’s leadership and if they believe there should be an outside review of the allegations.
On Wednesday, Ms. Wilson-Raybould fielded close to four hours worth of questioning from members of the House of Commons justice committee. During her testimony, she said she was subjected to sustained and co-ordinated pressure from Mr. Trudeau and his top officials, including “veiled threats."
Mr. Trudeau in response has said he completely disagreed with the former attorney-general’s characterization of events.
Out of 179 MPs, more than 30 replied to The Globe’s questions, with most defending the way the Prime Minister acted and some taking aim at Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s interpretation of events.
Here is a collection of their responses, some of which have been condensed
“I listened very closely to Ms. Wilson Raybould’s thorough and detailed testimony before the committee yesterday, and I found it extremely compelling. I also found her corroboration of the allegation published in The Globe to be extremely troubling. … Given what I heard in that testimony, I strongly believe that our government must waive the cabinet confidences." – Wayne Long (Saint John–Rothesay, New Brunswick)
“What other kind of public review can you have? We all watched the show last night and I think that we saw that there was nothing illegal. Everyone is going to be hopefully talking about this very little and that we move onto more important issues. I don’t think anything criminal occurred." – MaryAnn Mihychuk (Kildonan–St. Paul, Manitoba)
“There was ‘absolutely not’ inappropriate pressure put on JWR. Having been a cabinet minister in the past, part of the job is about pressure in the job.” – Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Prince Edward Island)
“I believe the Prime Minister always acted appropriately and professionally in the interest of saving thousands of Canadian jobs and pensions. Ms. Wilson-Raybould made it clear in her own testimony yesterday that the pressure to which she was subjected did not contravene the Criminal Code.” – John Oliver (Oakville, Ontario)
“The PM has made clear from the beginning that he and his staff followed all of the rules.” – Nick Whalen (St. John’s East, Newfoundland)
“I absolutely support the Prime Minister. Jody said herself, the actions of the PM were not illegal. It’s funny the NDP stand every day and ask why aren’t we fighting and doing everything we can for the autoworkers in Oshawa, but an intense discussion regarding 9,000 jobs at SNC, 2,500 of them in Ontario, is somehow offensive.” – Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton–Canso, Nova Scotia)
“The Prime Minister has my absolute confidence. The Prime Minister has made it clear that all interactions between him, his staff and the former minister of justice and attorney-general were professional and appropriate.” – Finance Minister Bill Morneau (Toronto Centre, Ontario)
“We have the justice committee who is reviewing and studying this. In addition, the Ethics Commissioner is looking into this matter and prior to their reports being tabled, it is premature to ask for anything else. Let them do their work.” – Randeep Sarai (Surrey Centre, British Columbia)
“The justice committee is studying the issue, as is the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of Canada. I believe we should let them do their work.” – Deb Schulte (King–Vaughan, Ontario)
“I find these questions insane and I refuse to answer them.” – Greg Fergus (Hull-Aylmer, Quebec)
“It is normal that there were conversations about the potential impact on 9,000 jobs across the country and pensioners.” – Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould (Burlington, Ontario)
“The matter of ‘inappropriate pressure’ is Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s to define … she felt what she felt and we should respect that. … Should there be an outside review? I think I’d wait until the Ethics Commissioner reported on this before saying yes or no." – Ken Hardie (Fleetwood-Port Kells, British Columbia)
“I am confident in our institutions and the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner looking into this matter. Our government will always stand up to protect middle-class jobs.” – National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier (Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec)
“I am very clearly of the view that the Prime Minister would never apply improper pressure and that the Prime Minister has always been clear about the unique role of the attorney-general and would respect that.” – Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (University–Rosedale, Ontario)
“It was important for the former attorney-general to speak to her experience. I have confidence and faith in the Ethics Commissioner and the justice committee to do their job. The act of governing requires discussions that are very important and often challenging. I await the report of the Ethics Commissioner and the justice committee.” – Labour Minister Patty Hajdu (Thunder Bay–Superior North, Ontario)
“Ms. Wilson-Raybould recommended that the justice committee study the roles of attorney-general and minister of justice, and whether they should be separated. I agree with this. It is important that, moving forward, we listen carefully to all witnesses and their insights on this matter.” – Don Rusnak (Thunder Bay–Rainy River, Ontario)
“I have full confidence in the Prime Minister, and I am in agreement with what he expressed. … We will always stand up for jobs, and we remain focused on the work that Canadians want us to do, including building on the success and growth that Atlantic Canada has seen since 2015 at tomorrow’s Atlantic Growth Strategy meeting in Halifax.” – Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour, New Brunswick)
“I fully agree with and support the Prime Minister, who has made clear that he and his staff always acted appropriately and professionally. And as Ms. Wilson-Raybould herself has stated, the decision ultimately rested with her.” – Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, Prince Edward Island)
“I unequivocally support the Prime Minister, and am honoured to be a member of his Cabinet.” – Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan (South Shore–St. Margaret’s, Nova Scotia)
“Currently, the Ethics Commissioner is looking into this matter, and it’s important that we trust him to do his job.” – Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre, Ontario)
"With regards to an outside review, the Ethics Commissioner is looking into the matter and we need to trust and let him do his job.” – Small Business Minister Mary Ng (Markham–Thornhill, Ontario)
“I believe the Prime Minister – that he and his staff did not apply inappropriate political pressure. … We are committed to continuing to tackle important issues to Canadians, including fighting climate change and standing up for jobs. … I’m proud to live in a country where we can address issues like this in a serious and professional manner. I’ve lived in countries where that is simply not the case." – Environment Minister Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre, Ontario)
“As a proud member of the Liberal government, I continue to focus on the issues that matter to Canadians, including helping lift 825,000 Canadians out of poverty and create jobs to grow the economy. I will always stand behind Prime Minister Trudeau when he stands up for Canadian jobs. I trust the tools in place to investigate matters such as this one to ensure that all facts come to light. We will let the justice committee and the Ethics Commissioner do their work.” – Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen (York South–Weston, Ontario)
“When 9,000 jobs are at stake, when Canadian families risk losing their revenues, of course there are going to be discussions, but all in accordance to the rules and respecting our institutions. We also welcome the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner looking into this.” – Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Quebec)
“I want to be absolutely clear. The Prime Minister has my full confidence.” – Tourism Minister Mélanie Joly (Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Quebec)
“The Ethics Commissioner will be investigating. I trust he is in a good position to conduct this review and will be able to clear the air on this matter.” – Transport Minister Marc Garneau (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount, Quebec)
“Absolutely, without even the shadow of a doubt. The Prime Minister’s job and responsibility is to protect and promote the independence of our judiciary, and stand up for Canadian workers, pensioners, and their families. SNC-Lavalin employs more than 9,000 workers, and we will always stand up for jobs across the country." – Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos (Québec, Quebec)
"Today [Thursday] marked a historic day for First Nations, Inuit and Métis families with the introduction of Bill C-92. Under this Prime Minister’s leadership, reconciliation has been a priority for the entire government – and today is a clear example of the progress we are making in partnership with Indigenous peoples. I have full confidence in the Prime Minister and our government as we continue this important work.” – Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South–Mount Pearl, Newfoundland)
“I have full confidence in our Prime Minister. As the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, every job in our country matters to me. Today [Thursday], I stood proudly by the Prime Minister as we announced that Canada will be going to the moon. This $2-billion investment in the Lunar Gateway project will drive our space strategy, boost research and development, create good jobs and inspire our children to reach for the stars." – Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains (Mississauga–Malton, Ontario)
"The Clerk of the Privy Council, which was someone that worked under the Harper regime and our government, had made it very, very clear, in my opinion, crystal clear, that there was no inappropriate pressure put on by the administration. … He was an incredible civil servant. He served under different administrations. Why wouldn’t I believe him?” – Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Manitoba)
“Ms. Wilson-Raybould testified that she was not given any direction in this matter, that nothing unlawful was done, and discussions about jobs were entirely appropriate. With respect to “pressure,” all cabinet roles are high-pressure jobs. None are easy. The Prime Minister has been clear since the beginning that he and his office always acted appropriately.” – Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (Regina–Wascana, Saskatchewan)
“I disagree with the former attorney-general’s perspective. We welcome the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner looking into the matter.” – International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Centre, Manitoba)
“As a government, we are responsible for looking out for Canadian workers and pensioners. It is the job of the Prime Minister, and all of us as cabinet ministers, to always stand up for Canadian workers and we will continue to do so. … I have full confidence in the Prime Minister and look forward to seeking re-election under the Liberal banner.” – Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough (Delta, British Columbia)
“I’ve known Jody for awhile and I would say that Jody is my friend and I have great respect for her intellect and her character, but I do not agree with her characterization of the events that occurred in this case. … Discussions like this need to be consistent with the law, and Jody effectively confirmed that they were when she said no one directed her to do anything. I am quite comfortable the Prime Minister is in the right here.” – Jonathan Wilkinson (North Vancouver, British Columbia)
Liberal MPs Chris Bittle and John Aldag said “no,” they do not believe Mr. Trudeau and his officials placed inappropriate pressure on Ms. Wilson-Raybould, that they support the Prime Minister’s leadership and they do not believe an outside review is required.
“It’s clear that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is looking at this matter. The justice committee, we know, is looking at this matter. We know this matter is being scrutinized and we are ensuring that people are able to share their perspectives. It’s important we hear them and Canadians should get to hear them so they can have confidence in their institutions. It’s also important that we continue to fight for Canadians, for their jobs, and for pensioners.” Government House Leader Bardish Chagger (Waterloo, Ontario)
The following MPs either did not respond or declined to comment:
Geoff Regan – As Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr. Regan holds a non-partisan role and cannot comment on this matter.
Ginette Petitpas Taylor
David de Burgh Graham
Reporting by Janice Dickson and Michelle Zilio. With reports from Mike Hager, Ian Bailey, James Keller, Campbell Clark, Jill Mahoney, Andrea Woo, Jonathan Ventura, Tu Thanh Ha, Justin Giovannetti.