Author Topic: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case  (Read 82485 times)

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Offline Lumber

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #100 on: February 17, 2019, 12:29:48 »
Ok I'm a little confused by a lot of what I'm reading online.

For example:

Quote
New Democrat MP Niki Ashton said on Twitter she was "disgusted" by Mr Trudeau's "condescension".[of Wilson-Raybould]

Quote
Conservative party deputy leader Lisa Raitt told journalists in Ottawa on Wednesday that Ms Wilson-Raybould's "reputation has been dragged through the mud, the Liberal mud."

and the biggest one is:

Quote
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs called on the prime minister to "immediately and categorically publicly condemn the racist and sexist innuendo" about Ms Wilson-Raybould.

Quote
This comes two days after UBCIC released an open letter decrying the "discriminatory, sexist comments about minister Jody Wilson-Raybould," which they claimed were being spread by government officials and staff. The letter specifically highlighted anonymous government sources who told media that Wilson-Raybould was "a thorn in the side of cabinet," "difficult to get along with," and "known to berate fellow cabinet members at the table."

Maybe I'm just not reading into the whole affair deeply enough, but I haven't seen any comments at all, especially not from the Prime Minister, that are in any way condescending, racist, sexist, or otherwise damaging to her character and reputation.

Furthermore, even if the liberal insiders were decrying her as "difficult to get along with" and "a thorn in the side of cabinet", how can those specific comments be construe as racist, sexist, or anything like that?

So far all I've seen is a load of nothing. The PM has decried the negative comments made, but otherwise hasn't actually made any formal statements regarding the affair, and neither as Wilson-Raybould. Everyone is just keeping quiet, so what is everyone freaking out about?

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Offline ballz

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #101 on: February 17, 2019, 12:44:11 »
Maybe I'm just not reading into the whole affair deeply enough, but I haven't seen any comments at all, especially not from the Prime Minister, that are in any way condescending, racist, sexist, or otherwise damaging to her character and reputation.

Furthermore, even if the liberal insiders were decrying her as "difficult to get along with" and "a thorn in the side of cabinet", how can those specific comments be construe as racist, sexist, or anything like that?

I haven't seen anything racist. The stuff about how she was difficult to get along with and the like are what's being construed as sexist. Disagreeableness is actually a predictor of success in the workplace, but often when women are disagreeable they are marked as contrary, bitchy, etc... so it's a bit of a double-standard that's been identified by third-wave feminism, one of the few things third-wave feminism has identified that I actually agree with.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #102 on: February 17, 2019, 18:58:13 »
Summary:

NP View: Trudeau's SNC-Lavalin coverups are more disturbing than the alleged crimes
- 15 Feb 19
    It's a truism that it's not the crime but the coverup that typically does a government in. Maybe. But if this is a coverup, it is almost criminally incompetent

More than a full week after the SNC-Lavalin scandal erupted all over the Trudeau government, what’s most astonishing is how the federal Liberals haven’t even been able to yet settle on a coherent cover story —  a “narrative,” as the political jargon would call it. The alleged acts are bad enough: pressuring former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to quietly nudge prosecutors toward giving Quebec-based, Liberal-friendly SNC-Lavalin a break in an ongoing criminal prosecution for corruption charges, and then demoting her into a lesser portfolio when she refused. The manifest incompetence of the government’s response to the growing controversy is somehow more disturbing.

Let’s start with the whisper campaign that immediately began against Wilson-Raybould. A bevy of anonymous Liberal insiders have been spreading the word to any journalist who’ll listen that she was just a pain to work with. It was all about “Jody,” not about the government. She was difficult. Not a team player. The whispers, no doubt co-ordinated by the Prime Minister’s Office in a hamfisted attempt to control a disastrous story, resulted in a remarkable statement of support for Wilson-Raybould from another member of Trudeau’s cabinet this week: Jane Philpott, former minister of health and Indigenous services and now head of the Treasury Board. Her comments weren’t about the substance of the scandal per se; she tweeted a photo of her and Wilson-Raybould smiling, thanked her for having “taught me so much” and said she was “proud of the laws we worked on together” and that she knows “you will continue to serve Canadians.” But they were clearly an expression of support for Wilson-Raybould and, by clearly praising her work and public service, a vigorous rebuke to the stories being planted about Wilson-Raybould’s supposed selfishness.


Once the slagging of Wilson-Raybould had brought enough widespread criticism over their clearly sexist and probably racist tone (attacking a strong, highly accomplished female Aboriginal for being too full of herself — how classy), the prime minister finally condemned them. “There have been many comments published in the media in various reports, about the former attorney general, about Jody Wilson-Raybould, that are absolutely unacceptable,” he said on Friday. “The sexist comments, the racist comments that have been made by anonymous sources are unacceptable and I condemn them in the strongest possible terms. That is not what we need to be engaged in, in public discourse in Canada.”

It was an appropriate response. But how odd that it took a full six days after Liberal insiders had planted the slanderous stories for our supposedly feminist and progressive prime minister to finally say that.

This was far from the only misstep the prime minister had this week. On Monday, under questioning from reporters, Trudeau assured Canadians that the matter was overblown. The fact that Wilson-Raybould continued to serve in cabinet during the controversy, he said, showed that the public was overreacting, and that Wilson-Raybould was comfortable continuing to serve in his government.

Whoops.

She quit hours later, leaving Trudeau to gamely suggest the next day that he was disappointed she hadn’t spoken up if she’d felt uncomfortable. Ah, at least he made sure to keep blaming her and her alone.

Things did not improve for the Liberals as the week went on. The opposition tried to force a meaningful investigation through the Commons justice committee, but were effectively stonewalled by the Liberal majority, who declined to invite the key players to testify — most notably Wilson-Raybould herself and the prime minister’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, who had privately discussed the SNC-Lavalin case with Wilson-Raybould. The committee may later elect to call either or both of those individuals, but only after closed-door meetings and only if at least one Liberal breaks with the majority to vote with the opposition. Canadians will learn as much about this federal Liberal scandal, in other words, as the federal Liberals choose. Chalk up another win for Canada’s Most Transparent Government Ever.

The disgraces didn’t stop there. Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, chair of the justice committee, gave a series of interviews where he suggested, apparently without having given the notion the slightest thought, that Wilson-Raybould was bounced from justice because she doesn’t speak French. That was a curious message to send the thousands of francophone Canadians who have honourably served in our country’s armed forces — including in our traditionally French-speaking units — by suggesting that Veterans Affairs is a portfolio suitable for dumping ministers whose French doesn’t quite pass muster. Housefather quickly retreated, saying his comments were speculation and he apologized for them. But then the prime minister later suggested that Wilson-Raybould wouldn’t have been moved if Scott Brison hadn’t recently resigned from politics, requiring a cabinet shuffle. While it’s true that Brison’s departure made a shuffle necessary, it was not necessary to specifically shuffle Wilson-Raybould; Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna somehow managed to hang on to their jobs. (Amusingly, shortly after the prime minister’s comment, Brison’s husband tweeted, “It’s ok, I usually blame my husband for everything too.”)

It’s become a truism in politics that it’s not the crime but the coverup that typically does a government in. Maybe so. But if this is a coverup, it is almost criminally incompetent. The alleged offence is bad enough. The aftermath is embarrassing.

- mod edit to add link -
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 07:05:05 by milnews.ca »
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Offline Lumber

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #103 on: February 17, 2019, 21:41:45 »
Ok... I don't often believe things are ever as nefarious as people claim them to be, but at least I can see how people can make the claim; that is, I can see the path they are following to connect all the dots, I just disagree with their ultimate conclusion.

In this case, I just can't see the dots.

First off, what was actually said, and by who, about the PM "pressuring former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to quietly nudge prosecutors toward giving Quebec-based......[sniped]".

How verifiable are these claims? Who actually said it? What are the sources? I've seen jack crap besides this one line over and over again.

Second,

Quote
The whispers, no doubt co-ordinated by the Prime Minister’s Office

And just what the bloody hell are people basing that bone headed assumption on? Many of you might consider our PM to be a young, naive and under qualified, but do you actually believe that sunny-ways drama teacher Justin Trudeau would actually allow his office to enact a campaign of slander?

So what the actual f*** is going on. I haven't read one bit of any journalism that actually shows something happened that was actually meaningful.

For all I know, this is how it went down:

Quote
PM sees this whole SNC-Lavalin affair being bad for Canada's economy in general, bad for Quebec's economy in particular, and bad for the Liberal party in Quebec from a political perspective.

PM calls in the Attorney General, asks her something along the lines of "hey is there any way we could make this hurt less? any legal way to avoid as much damage as possible"?

Attorney General replies something like "unfortunately no, at this point we have to let things run their course, however painful that may be. Also, I have to advise you that merely asking me this question could be construed as an unethical attempt to use political power to interfere affect the rule of law. I don't believe that is what you actually did, but some could see it that way."

PM replies, "Oh crap, I didn't mean it like that. I'm not a lawyer and I'm really young and naive, so I really just wanted your expert opinion on this matter and to see if there was any other options at all. Thanks for your help, and I'll try and be more careful next time."

Attorney General replies, "No prob, JT" <fist bump>.

Fast forward a few weeks/months, and someone who happened to be standing nearby breaks the law by leaking info about a conversation between the PM and the Attorney General, basically claiming that what was no more than a spit-balling session was an actual attempt by the PM to subvert the rule of law.

Now, can the news outlets stop talking about this all freaking day, at least until they can provide some actual and verifiable claims?
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Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #104 on: February 17, 2019, 21:50:17 »
First off, what was actually said, and by who, about the PM "pressuring former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to quietly nudge prosecutors toward giving Quebec-based......[sniped]".

How verifiable are these claims? Who actually said it? What are the sources? I've seen jack crap besides this one line over and over again.

The Prime Minister himself, after days of denials, has literally just said JWR asked him if he was directing her to take certain action in the SNC-Lavalin case. This is after he snuck a major Criminal Code change into Budget 2018 that very much appears to directly benefit SNC-Lavalin after years of direct lobbying by that company to Liberal MPs and Cabinet members. The fact that the Prime Minister will not waive Solicitor-Client privilege to let JWR clear the air, while he continues to change his story on an almost hourly basis, smacks of a complete cover-up from the PMO.

If there was nothing to the allegations, JWR wouldn't need to resign, would be able to speak freely, and wouldn't needed to have hired a former Supreme Court Justice to advise her on what she legally can say to defend herself.

Online Remius

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #105 on: February 17, 2019, 21:50:39 »
Your scenario lumber does not fit why she was demoted, hasn’t said a word yet about it, why JT hasn’t waived privilege if it was that simple nor why she suddenly resigned as VAC minister.

Also,the various scenarios and changing stories don’t help perception.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #106 on: February 17, 2019, 23:06:24 »
Add Penny Colennette (writing in the Star) to the list of the Old Guard that is less than impressed with the situation in which Trudeau finds himself.

I don't see much sign of anybody riding to the rescue.
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Offline Lumber

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #107 on: February 17, 2019, 23:44:04 »
Your scenario lumber does not fit why she was demoted, hasn’t said a word yet about it, why JT hasn’t waived privilege if it was that simple nor why she suddenly resigned as VAC minister.

Also,the various scenarios and changing stories don’t help perception.

She wasn't demoted, she was moved to an equally (IMHO) important and respectable cabinet position, and it may have been for any number of reasons. It's all conjecture that it was because she wouldn't play Liberal hard ball.

He hasn't said anything about it, because in my scenario, what he "asked" the AG was incriminating. If he admits to any type of conversation, even one he had in naive ignorance, theyd be all over him. Better just to be quiet.

For the refusal to waive privilege, same as above.

Finally, for her resignation? Well it could very well have been just a giant FU to the prime minister. She's upset that she got moved out of the AG position (regardless of the reason why), and when all of this came to light she said "hey, I bet if I resigned now it would REALLY make him look bad."

Of course, this is all just conjecture. More then likely there is something untoward going on. Im just not convinced that's is nefarious cronnism or corruption, and I certainly still can't see how people are so confidently connecting the dots, when there are very very few dots.
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Offline ballz

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #108 on: February 18, 2019, 00:25:16 »
How verifiable are these claims? Who actually said it? What are the sources? I've seen jack crap besides this one line over and over again.

The Globe & Mail reported it, based on unnamed sources.

You can call it "FAKE NEWS," I guess... but the journalist who reported it has a pretty credible history. It's not uncommon for "unnamed" sources to be used in legit journalism, as no one would have any insider information if they couldn't be trusted not to give the actual source of the info up. Note that "unnamed" and "anonymous" are two very, very different things.
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Online Remius

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #109 on: February 18, 2019, 10:11:28 »
The Globe & Mail reported it, based on unnamed sources.

You can call it "FAKE NEWS," I guess... but the journalist who reported it has a pretty credible history. It's not uncommon for "unnamed" sources to be used in legit journalism, as no one would have any insider information if they couldn't be trusted not to give the actual source of the info up. Note that "unnamed" and "anonymous" are two very, very different things.

Funny how when the Duffy affair came out, those on the right were asking the same questions Lumber did and essentially dismissing exactly what you wrote ballz and those on the Liberal side were out for blood holding Stephen Harper ultimately responsible.

Hypocrisy is quite the circle...

(not calling you a hypocrite ballz just the situation that reeks of it from both sides)

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Online Remius

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #110 on: February 18, 2019, 10:16:44 »
She wasn't demoted, she was moved to an equally (IMHO) important and respectable cabinet position, and it may have been for any number of reasons. It's all conjecture that it was because she wouldn't play Liberal hard ball.

He hasn't said anything about it, because in my scenario, what he "asked" the AG was incriminating. If he admits to any type of conversation, even one he had in naive ignorance, theyd be all over him. Better just to be quiet.

For the refusal to waive privilege, same as above.

Finally, for her resignation? Well it could very well have been just a giant FU to the prime minister. She's upset that she got moved out of the AG position (regardless of the reason why), and when all of this came to light she said "hey, I bet if I resigned now it would REALLY make him look bad."

Of course, this is all just conjecture. More then likely there is something untoward going on. Im just not convinced that's is nefarious cronnism or corruption, and I certainly still can't see how people are so confidently connecting the dots, when there are very very few dots.

Come on Lumber, that sounds like bad PR lines the Liberals are spouting.  I try to keep my politics as level as I can and I've defended JT's actions in the past but there is way too much smoke here and the liberals are trying to tell everyone there is no fire while the fire trucks are blaring behind them.  They are not looking good in all of this and they are managing this like a goat rodeo.

If it isn't that bad then they dropped the ball on how to handle this.  Someone pointed it out that the cover up is worse than the crime.  They are not doing themselves any favours at all.   
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #111 on: February 18, 2019, 11:24:50 »
>For all I know, this is how it went down:

Ah.  One of those harmless "'I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go" moments.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #112 on: February 18, 2019, 12:08:18 »
She wasn't demoted, she was moved to an equally (IMHO) important and respectable cabinet position, and it may have been for any number of reasons.

Oh come on. Equally respectable? Certainly. Equally important? Dude, it's not even in the same league, never mind the same ballpark. We don't have to like that fact, but VAC is a second tier ministry and that's just a political reality. Anything that doesn't give that due recognition and consideration in the math on this is wilful self deception. Past ministers of justice? St. Laurent. PET. Turner. Chretien. Clarke. Campbell. Rock. MacKay. Nicholson. Six of thsoe were PM at some point subsequently. MacKay was a party leader and definitely isn't out of the running yet for potential future PM. Meanwhile you look at the list of Ministers of Veterans Affairs and there just isn't anything close to the same degree of political prominence, clout, or success there. Kim Campbell is the only one I can find who has ever served as MVA and as PM- but she also had Justice and National Defense straddling that brief stint with VAC.

Face facts. Always face facts, even if they're undesirable, inconvenient, or lead to unlikable conclusions about other things we hold dear. Any position not built on a premise of fact is going to be wobbly.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Online Remius

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #113 on: February 18, 2019, 12:15:53 »
Face facts.

That fact is that VAC only serves a very small percentage of Canadians.

Justice has an overarching effect on ALL Canadians.

As you said, not even in the same league. 

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Offline Journeyman

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #114 on: February 18, 2019, 12:29:19 »
Face facts. Always face facts, even if they're undesirable, inconvenient, or lead to unlikable conclusions about other things we hold dear. Any position not built on a premise of fact is going to be wobbly.
You do  know that this is a Politics thread, right?   :whistle:

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #115 on: February 18, 2019, 14:16:30 »
Breaking news: Gerald Butts has resigned, but denies he did anything wrong.

Hope the bus tires don't leave too many tread marks on him.

Offline Brihard

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #116 on: February 18, 2019, 14:42:25 »
Breaking news: Gerald Butts has resigned, but denies he did anything wrong.

Hope the bus tires don't leave too many tread marks on him.

He was 'senior political advisor'. So given the recent missteps, either his advice was not trusted, or it was trusted and it was garbage advice. Given that we have here is indicative of an 'oops' versus an 'I told you so", it looks like a spot has been found for him under the bus.

I, for one, look forward to the next three days of political 'butts' jokes, because at heart I am still a juvenile.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Online Remius

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #117 on: February 18, 2019, 14:44:37 »

And the mess gets bigger.  Now the PM will say he accepted his resignation.  How many bets that in a few weeks when this gets worse he'll say he fired him.

Sigh.
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Online Good2Golf

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #118 on: February 18, 2019, 15:21:32 »
She wasn't demoted, she was moved to an equally (IMHO) important and respectable cabinet position, and it may have been for any number of reasons. It's all conjecture that it was because she wouldn't play Liberal hard ball.

In Canada, even the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities had more status than Veterans’ Affairs. 

Online Colin P

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #119 on: February 18, 2019, 15:46:43 »
He was 'senior political advisor'. So given the recent missteps, either his advice was not trusted, or it was trusted and it was garbage advice. Given that we have here is indicative of an 'oops' versus an 'I told you so", it looks like a spot has been found for him under the bus.

I, for one, look forward to the next three days of political 'butts' jokes, because at heart I am still a juvenile.

Besides being JT close friend, he also appears to have been the "PMO" basically running the show. Likely it was a lot of his "smart ideas" that got them into this mess. These people are often to smart for their own good and won't take the clear path, but will try to game the system because they believe they are inherently smarter than us.

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #120 on: February 18, 2019, 15:49:40 »
This was posted 5 hours ago, just before Butts resigned.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/politics/are-these-the-answers-of-a-prime-minister-whos-done-nothing-wrong/ar-BBTLdcp?li=AAggNb9&ocid=iehp

Are these the ‘answers’ of a Prime Minister who’s done nothing wrong? - 18 Feb 19

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft. Andrew MacDougall is a London-based columnist, commentator and consultant at Trafalgar Strategy. He was formerly director of communications to Stephen Harper.

When ace reporter Bob Fife rings you at 9:30 in the morning to get a comment for an exclusive in the next day’s paper it’s time to cancel your plans. Believe me, I know from experience. It means something big— something painful—is in the offing. And while I’m not privy to the PMO discussion following Fife’s Feb. 6 call, I can say the carefully-crafted response which appeared in the Globe and Mail’s exclusive the next morning did nothing to kill the story. Au contraire, it has produced a series of shifting explanations over subsequent days for something Trudeau’s office insists never even happened.

So, why hasn’t the PMO managed to kill the story? Given the building is stacked with political ninjas the temptation is to say they haven’t succeeded for a good reason: what Fife, Steven Chase, and Sean Fine have reported is true. How can I make that claim? How about we put ourselves in the Trudeau PMO’s shoes to review all the ways the office has been giving credence to the SNC-Lavalin story. Hint: it’s not what they say, it’s what they’re not saying.

On Feb. 6, the allegation is made that your office “pressed” Jody Wilson-Raybould to “abandon” the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. This being the same SNC-Lavalin which, as you’ll know, has littered the public lobbying registry with notices of meetings with your senior staff to discuss having the law changed in such a way that could benefit it in dealing with its current legal woes.

You’ll also know that your government subsequently buried a legal remedy into the most recent budget bill to do SNC (and others, in theory) a solid. And you’ll know that SNC barged straight back into your office after the independent Director of the Public Prosecution Service subsequently ruled out using that new legal remedy to SNC’s potential advantage (again, see: registry, lobbying).

What’s more, as a sharp PMO-type, you’ll know that Wilson-Raybould chose to append a very unusual letter to her surprise departure from the Department of Justice during the recent cabinet shuffle, a letter that went out of its way to state that it is a “pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political influence and uphold the highest levels of public confidence”. Forget the letter’s long lauding of her record on justice policy. Why would the outgoing attorney general even think to mention the bit about the “perception of political influence”?

Anyway, knowing all of that unhelpful context, and knowing that it’s a very serious accusation being levelled by Fife et al.—indeed, one that, if proven, could be criminal—you would have every interest in being as definitive as possible in your response. If nothing fitting the Globe’s description or characterization happened between PMO and Wilson-Raybould you would get on the phone with Fife tout de suite and put as many facts as you could into a background chat with him to counter his narrative and, if he isn’t ultimately convinced, then go on the record to shout your clear denial from the rooftops. Something like: “The accusation is categorically false. At no point did the Prime Minister of his office in any way, shape, or form direct or pressure the attorney general on the question of SNC-Lavalin.”

But you didn’t do that.

There is absolutely no sign of serious background engagement by you or your office in the original Globe story. Nor do there appear to be any invitations extended to talk to “Jody” to set things straight, which you would have gladly offered to do to clear up something that didn’t happen. No, instead, you give the public a brief piece of legalese: “The Prime Minister’s Office did not direct the attorney general to draw any conclusions on this matter.” The statement sounds definitive (“did not direct”) but isn’t, as it evades the actual allegation (“pressed”), which is still problematic. Your answer leaves the impression that something did happen between the two parties.

Fine. Even the best political office can fluff the initial response. Sometimes it’s left to the Prime Minister to kill a story stone dead. And as luck would have it, Trudeau was in front of the press on the day the story broke. But Trudeau didn’t kill the story stone dead. He didn’t even try.

“The allegations reported in the story are false,” Trudeau told reporters, delivering what appeared to be a well-drilled line. “At no time did I or my office direct the current or previous attorney general to make any particular decision in this matter.” Trudeau’s line sure sounds better, given the use of the word “false”, but it’s not actually an improvement, given that what Trudeau describes as “false” isn’t what was alleged in the first place. It’s misdirection, i.e. a big red flag to every reporter able to draw breath.

And, right on cue, every reporter listening to Trudeau followed up with the obvious question as to whether his office “pressed” or “pressured” Wilson-Raybould. And instead of being clear and ruling out pressure of any kind, Trudeau reverted to his narrow script: “At no time did we [i.e. himself and the PMO] direct the attorney-general, current or previous”.

This, friends, is the “tell”. Trudeau was invited to bat down the allegation—in the flesh, for all to see—and he preferred to stick with his mischaracterization of the allegation. And he did that because he knew that someone credible was out there, someone with inside knowledge, and they were telling a different story (or else the Globe wouldn’t have run the story).

In other words, characterizing the interaction between Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould in a way that wasn’t truthful, i.e. saying there was no pressure, would have been met with a counterpunch from the mystery counterparty (and, by now, everyone in the PMO will be thinking it’s Wilson-Raybould). Trudeau had to duck and hope that his misdirection would be good enough. It wasn’t, as the front page of every newspaper and lead item on every broadcast will have confirmed to the PMO.

At this point, the PMO is choked. The press isn’t buying what they have to sell, because what they have to sell doesn’t address the issue. For her part, Wilson-Raybould isn’t commenting at all, which isn’t helpful if nothing happened because one word of denial from her kills the story. That she is remaining silent speaks volumes, and the press knows it. If you’re the PMO, this is the point in a scandal when you root around the sofa cushions in the hopes of finding a fact you haven’t yet deployed to your favour. It’s when you look for a piece of news that you can put out to change the channel.

And when all you find is lint and spare change and nothing better to watch, you begin to contemplate switching to the dark arts. However, before you go there, you decide to trot out the big guns—the vaunted “senior government officials” (Ottawa code for “PMO”)—in an attempt to fill in as much detail as you can about the interactions between PMO and Justice without contradicting your public line that no direction was given.

This leads to the Feb. 8 exclusive in the Globe and Mail, which confirmed that discussions were held with Wilson-Raybould about the government’s options with respect to SNC-Lavalin. The senior government officials go as far as to say there was “vigorous debate” about SNC-Lavalin, but this wasn’t to be misconstrued as “pressure” or direction. A “robust discussion” is not “pressure” they pleaded. Given Wilson-Raybould’s continuing silence, it’s not a stretch to say this is the PMO relating its side of events in the hope that one woman’s “pressure” can be portrayed as another man’s “robust discussion but no direction now can we please move on”.

But this intervention doesn’t kill the story either, because now it’s clear there was a tetchy debate about SNC Lavalin, something that could easily be felt as pressure by the party on the other end of the conversation. Pressure that could, under the law, be illegal, depending on its exact shape and form. In other words, the story is now a five-alarm fire going into the weekend, when the Sunday political chat shows are going to be picking it apart in Zapruder-like detail. Remember those dark arts you were thinking about deploying? Well, it’s time for the dirty deed to get done.

On Feb. 9 Canada wakes up to a story in the Canadian Press relaying through unnamed “insiders” how Wilson-Raybould was shuffled from Justice to Veterans because she had become a “thorn in the side of the cabinet”, “difficult to get along with”, and had “always sort of been in it for herself”, i.e. “everything” was very “Jody-centric”. As far as character assassinations go it was fairly comprehensive, albeit about a month late, given that none of it was whispered on or off-the-record at the time of Wilson-Raybould’s move out of the Justice portfolio.

The ways these muggings usually go—and I had to orchestrate a few in my day—is you ring up an amenable reporter and tell them that if you talk to so-and-so they’ll say such-and-such and hot damn, you’ll have one hell of a story. The one stipulation you make is that no comment from your office must appear in the story, so as not to leave any fingerprints. Well non-deniable ones, anyway.

But the anonymous hit job on Wilson-Raybould goes sideways and stirs the pot up even more. As literally every non-PMO dwelling observer with no dog in the hunt could have anticipated and pointed out, it’s not very on-brand for a feminist, Indigenous relationship-healing prime minister to set his attack dogs on the literal poster child for his values movement. To make matters worse, the Ethics Commissioner has now decided to get involved and opposition MPs on the Justice Committee are wanting to have a look into everything too.

Again, a government confident it had done nothing wrong would welcome MPs getting to the bottom of things because—with the whole Huawei extradition weighing on it already—political interference and the applicability of the rule of law in Canada is suddenly a very relevant topic. A PMO with nothing to hide on such an important question wouldn’t hide.

But the Liberals on the Justice Committee don’t pledge to get to the bottom of it. They don’t support a motion inviting the very people who would know what happened here—i.e. the main players in the PMO, the ones now whispering to newspapers—to come to committee. Instead, they invite Wilson-Raybould’s replacement at Justice, David Lametti, i.e. the guy who’s just been on the Sunday chat shows saying that his boss Trudeau says nothing happened so everything must be tickety-boo. You get three guesses at who asked for that outcome, and the first two don’t count. But again—no one out there is buying it. Not the press, and not even all Liberal MPs. New Brunswick Liberal MP Wayne Long is calling for a full investigation, adding yet another voice to the story. Another voice you can’t manage.

By this point in the tire fire, there is little a PMO can do but lean into the silence of their adversary and hope they never speak. Their silence even tempts you to take liberties with their side of the conversation in the hopes of throttling the story. And so Trudeau flips his previous explanation on its head, saying that if Wilson-Raybould felt improper pressure was being applied she should have complained to him about it, and that he was “disappointed” in her for not calling it to his attention. The fact that she didn’t, he says, suggests nothing at all happened. And while reversing the onus is a legal concept, observers could be forgiven for thinking the Prime Minister’s latest explanation isn’t genuine, what with his refusal to waive Wilson-Raybould’s privilege on the matter. Again, if nothing bad has happened, why not let her speak? To ask the question is to answer it.

But let’s take Trudeau at his word, as some legal commentators and Liberal proxies did. Why didn’t she resign? Other than trying to be a team player, that is? But what, exactly, was Wilson-Raybould supposed to do about it? If the PMO was up in her grill about SNC-Lavalin getting a break was she seriously supposed to assume it was doing it without Trudeau’s knowledge, to say nothing of his direction? The very same Trudeau who hasn’t changed his palace guard? Ever? The same Trudeau who says loudly that Gerry Butts and Katie Telford are he and he are they?

The incompatibility of the multiple explanations adds up, such is the myopia of an office in scandal. Of course, Wilson-Raybould’s silence in the face of this possible criminality didn’t prompt Trudeau to sack her, critics note, poking a giant hole in the new story. No, Trudeau only slotted her into Veterans Affairs, where she still enjoyed his full confidence, he says, despite the mess this whole situation has created. It’s the kind of exquisite bullshit only clever bullshitters up to their necks in bullshit can’t see. Indeed, this is the point in the scandal where the PMO loses sight of all of the incompatible twists and turns in the saga and their impact on the wider world. They just need a line—some line, any line—to get them through the day.

The resulting loss of touch with the mood and reading of the outside world includes their own team in Parliament. A caucus that feels neglected at the best of times is now watching you strafe a former colleague both on and off-the-record. They don’t care that you’re trying to keep one step ahead of the flame, only that you’ve disposed of one of them to further your immediate needs. Spoiler: it doesn’t make them happy.

Especially when Wilson-Raybould—no doubt seething at her portrayal, as hinted at by her father in media interviews—resigns and then lawyers up, with a former Supreme Court Justice, on the way out. Her resignation statement doesn’t mention Trudeau. Despite your efforts working caucus to keep everything on lockdown, social media starts to light up with posts from colleagues supporting their ousted friend.

Now facing an existential crisis, every favour gets called in by PMO. Every bit of leverage on caucus gets used. Ministers and MPs are briefed to keep schtum and let the centre muddle through. Don’t worry what everybody is saying, they’ll say, the only thing that will keep this story going is infighting. So shut up and stick together. Except, that is, for the few loyal soldiers who get tooled up for duty on the cable news shows.

The only thing left for Justin Trudeau to do now is hope that everyone sticks together. He knows Wilson-Raybould will one day speak, he just hopes that day isn’t coming anytime soon. If Wilson-Raybould comes out and confirms the side of the story the PMO has been trying so hard to obscure it will damage the Trudeau government in dire ways.

It will make that Feb. 6 phone call from Bob Fife feel like a picnic.
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Offline Loachman

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #121 on: February 20, 2019, 19:10:03 »
They are burying themselves deeper daily. They'll be looking for something big and controversial, that doesn't do a lot of damage to their base, to knock this off the table.

Release of the new gun laws would likely do it.

Probably not:

https://ipolitics.ca/2019/02/20/committee-presses-pause-on-senate-study-of-gun-bill-amid-snc-lavalin-affair/

Senate committee presses pause on gun bill study amid SNC-Lavalin affair

By Tim Naumetz. Published on Feb 20, 2019 8:09am

Fallout from the SNC-Lavalin affair and the resignation of Vancouver Granville Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould as veterans affairs minister on Feb. 12 has thrown a wrench into government plans for quick passage of its contentious new firearm legislation through the Senate.

The Senate National Security and Defence Committee is pausing witness hearings on the bill after only one meeting. The marathon session ending just before midnight Monday drew out perhaps the most dramatic testimony over gun violence since the legislation began its journey through Parliament nearly a year ago.

<snip>

The Senate National Security and Defence committee decided its subcommittee on veterans affairs should look into the rapid succession of veterans affairs ministers over the past several years.

The change in committee plans spurred by the SNC-Lavalin affair could mean Bill C-71 will not make it through the committee until April, given that Parliament sits for only one week in March. The changes also raise questions about whether the bill will be passed before Parliament adjourns for the summer in June. The federal election scheduled for Oct. 21.


Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #122 on: February 20, 2019, 19:40:41 »
The importance of capitalization:

Gerald Butts's resignation letter


Quote
I have resigned as Principal Secretary to The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP, Prime Minister of Canada. He has accepted my resignation.

Recently, anonymous sources have alleged that I pressured the former Attorney General, The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, to assist SNC-Lavalin with being considered for a deferred prosecution agreement. I categorically deny the accusation that I or anyone else in his office pressured Ms. Wilson-Raybould. We honoured the unique role of the Attorney General. At all times, I and those around me acted with integrity and a singular focus on the best interests of all Canadians.

The Prime Minister of Canada’s Office is much larger and more important than any of its staff. I have served it to the best of my abilities, and I have at all times given the Prime Minister free and unfettered advice. I have served the public interest, not the interests of any individual or any narrow private interest of any kind, at any time. Life is full of uncertainties, but I am absolutely certain of that.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-full-text-of-gerald-buttss-resignation-statement/

The inference that I take from the letter is that Gerald Butts's loyalty is to the PMO - the Prime Minister's Office - and not to the office of the Prime Minister.

Here was me thinking that the person elected to the office of Prime Minister hired people in the Prime Minister's Office to do his or her bidding.
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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #123 on: February 20, 2019, 19:50:27 »
https://globalnews.ca/news/4973581/trudeau-government-leaks-support-snc-lavalin-wilson-raybould-poll/

February 19, 2019 5:00 am

Trudeau government leaks support in wake of SNC-Lavalin, Wilson-Raybould matter: Ipsos poll

By David Akin   

The Trudeau government is leaking political support in the wake of the resignation of its former justice minister, making its chances of re-election this fall far less certain than they seemed to be at year’s end, according to a new poll provided exclusively to Global News.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal approval ratings are down; a declining number of Canadians think his government deserves re-election; and Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives narrowly lead the Liberals on the ballot box question.

“This is the worst couple of weeks the PM has had since the India trip,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of polling firm Ipsos. “The biggest problem is that it hits at what gives the Liberal Party its appeal: the prime minister.

<snip>

Support for the Trudeau Liberals is now at 34 per cent of decided and leaning voters, down four percentage points from a poll Ipsos did in December. In the 2015 election, the Trudeau Liberals won their commanding majority with 39 per cent of the vote.

Scheer’s Conservatives appear to have benefited from this slide. That party is now at 36 per cent support, up three points since the end of 2018.

<snip>

“The big trouble spot is now Ontario, where the Tories have a six point lead over the Liberals,” said Bricker. “The way the vote breaks in Ontario suggests that the Tories are doing well in the 905, where the Liberals won their majority in 2015.”

<snip>

And just 38 per cent of those surveyed believe the Trudeau Liberals deserve re-election, while 62 per cent agreed that it was time to give another party a chance at governing.

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2019/02/20/trudeau-takes-personal-hit-amid-snc-lavalin-controversy-leger-poll-for-cp/#.XG3rnMR7laT

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: Leger poll for CP

By Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press - Feb 20 2019

A new poll conducted by Leger for The Canadian Press shows that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking a personal hit in the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong involving the Montreal engineering giant and former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould; 12 per cent believed he hadn't, and 41 per cent said they weren't sure.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/case-against-former-snc-exec-stephane-roy-thrown-out-by-quebec-judge-1.1216637

Case against former SNC exec Stephane Roy thrown out by Quebec judge

Feb 19, 2019 The Canadian Press

MONTREAL - A judge has thrown out fraud and bribery charges against a former SNC-Lavalin executive after concluding delays in his trial had become unreasonable.

Quebec court Judge Patricia Compagnone stayed proceedings against Stephane Roy Tuesday. She said the delays created by the prosecution "are an example of the culture of complacency that was deplored by the Supreme Court" in its 2016 Jordan decision.

Roy was facing charges of fraud over $5,000 and bribing a foreign public official in connection with the company's dealings with the regime of the late Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi.

He was charged in 2014, and his trial was scheduled to begin at the end of May. In a hearing last week, his defence invoked the Jordan decision, which set time limits on criminal proceedings.

His case stemmed from the same RCMP Project Assistance investigation that led to charges against SNC-Lavalin. Those charges are fuelling controversy in Ottawa following a report that the Prime Minister's Office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help the engineering firm avoid prosecution.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/wilson-raybould-snc-lavalin-trudeau-1.5025885

Wilson-Raybould tells Commons she wants to 'speak my truth' on SNC-Lavalin

Kathleen Harris · CBC News · Posted: Feb 20, 2019 11:55 AM ET

Jody Wilson-Raybould told the Commons today she wants to tell her side of the SNC-Lavalin scandal now consuming official Ottawa, but she can't "waive" solicitor-client privilege on her own.

The former justice minister and attorney general rose to explain why she was abstaining from a vote on an NDP motion to hold a public inquiry into alleged political interference in the criminal prosecution of the Quebec-based global engineering firm. Wilson-Raybould said she would refrain from voting because she was personally involved in the matter.

"I understand fully that Canadians want to know the truth and want transparency," she said. "Privilege and confidentiality are not mine to waive, and I hope that I have the opportunity to speak my truth."

<snip>

The NDP motion, which was defeated by the Liberal majority in a 134-160 vote, also called on the government to waive client-solicitor privilege in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Two Liberal MPs, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Wayne Long, broke ranks and voted with the opposition.

<snip>

Earlier today, Trudeau suggested a public inquiry isn't necessary to get to the bottom of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

<snip>

Liberal caucus chair Francis Scarpaleggia said he has "a lot of faith" in the justice committee process and doesn't think a public inquiry is necessary.

"Personally, I don't see a need for one," he said.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/02/19/why-now-butts-departure-fuels-speculation.html

Why now? Gerald Butts’ departure fuels speculation

By Nicholas KeungImmigration Reporter Tues., Feb. 19, 2019

Gerald Butts’ departure from the Prime Ministers Office has raised questions about what Justin Trudeau’s right-hand man is up to and more specifically what the Liberal government hopes to accomplish with his resignation even as he has denied any wrongdoing in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

“What we have seen doesn’t go any way toward explaining what actually happened. There’s no indicator that he’s done anything wrong, yet he’s still going. It’s just a mystery to me,” said London-based political commentator Andrew MacDougall, who served as the director of communications for former prime minister Stephen Harper.

<snip>

“There are obviously conversations between the PMO, Butts and Wilson-Raybould. I read his resignation as what she’s prepared to say is obviously incompatible with what they’d been saying. The fallout will be such that the PMO would be called into question, so Gerry is taking himself out now so he can deal with that without it being pinned to the PMO,” MacDougall said.

“The PM changed his story every day, added different elements to it and kept it going, so the sequence of that adding up makes them not make sense anymore. His resignation comes out of the blue from that point of view. That makes me wonder what his office got,” said MacDougall.

“It just feels like Jody is prepared to say something that doesn’t line up to what they’ve been saying. She’s been quite coy in hinting and thanking her dad for speaking up for her, liking tweets. Clearly she has something to say. The PMO got wind of that. It’s my speculation that it terrified them at the PMO.”

<snip>

“It is a first step of a two-step process. You can say our ex-staffer is going to co-operate and we are going to get to the bottom now. I don’t think they did it with the idea that it’s fine now Butts has resigned and the bloodhounds, the press will stop barking. Obviously not,” he said.

“They want to make it into a ‘he says, she says,’ where there’s no proof, and people are going to make their own judgment.”

<snip>

“The blood is in the water in Ottawa right now,” said MacDougall.

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/kelly-mcparland-if-no-one-did-anything-wrong-why-two-resignations-and-a-pmo-in-crisis-mode

Kelly McParland: If no one did anything wrong, why two resignations and a PMO in crisis mode?

Many believe Trudeau would never have entered politics if not for Butts, and might not have succeeded in winning Canada’s highest office without his support

February 18, 2019 9:55 PM EST

Which raises the most intriguing aspect of Butts’s departure. He is, it has been widely reported, one of the prime minister’s closest friends. They’ve been pals since university days at McGill. A lot of people believe Trudeau would never have entered politics if not for Butts, and might not have succeeded in winning Canada’s highest office without his support and advice.

And yet he’s quitting, not over some egregiously misappropriate decision or action, but over something he, Trudeau and the Liberal party insist never happened. Butts not only dismissed the suggestion he acted inappropriately, but maintained the opposite.

<snip>

All of which raises a very curious question. If Butts did absolutely nothing wrong; if neither he, the prime minister nor anyone else acted improperly in any manner; if this whole thing is, in essence, a figment of the imagination of Jody Wilson-Raybould, why is Butts stepping down and leaving the prime minister flailing for a solution to the worst crisis he’s faced since becoming prime minister?

Wilson-Raybould, remember, hasn’t said a word about the expanding disaster. When demoted from one of cabinet’s top posts, she kept her mouth closed about the reason, though she was clearly unhappy. There was no indication she planned to quit the new, lesser post as veterans affairs minister until Trudeau more or less forced her hand, suggesting that her continued presence in cabinet indicated she was OK with the way things were working out.

<snip>

Given the absence of anything resembling a smoking gun, it would seem sensible, therefore, to wait and hear what she has to say before breaking up the partnership that largely put the Liberals in power. The question of why Butts isn’t doing that, and why Trudeau agreed with his decision, remains dangling over the whole odd affair even as Butts packs his bags.

It usually takes governments several mandates to stumble into the sort of trouble the Liberals are in. Usually it comes from age, exhaustion and the accumulation of political baggage. Jean Chretien won three majorities before the sponsorship scandal caught up to him, and he had retired before voters eventually removed his successor from office. Stephen Harper was prime minister for nine years before voters decided a change was in order. Trudeau has been in power for just three-quarters of a mandate, and the Lavalin controversy is just the latest in a string of serious missteps. A determined optimist might note that Lavalin has at least diverted attention from the furor over the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, but it’s difficult to see much comfort arising from that fact.

<snip>

It’s a daunting tally of challenges the Liberals face as they gear up for the election that’s just eight months away. And Trudeau must now confront it without the man rightly or wrongly considered his Svengali. All over something the prime minister and his friend insist never happened.

Offline Tcm621

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Re: Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case
« Reply #124 on: February 20, 2019, 20:07:01 »
The inference that I take from the letter is that Gerald Butts's loyalty is to the PMO - the Prime Minister's Office - and not to the office of the Prime Minister.

Here was me thinking that the person elected to the office of Prime Minister hired people in the Prime Minister's Office to do his or her bidding.

I think you will find that Gerald Butts' loyalty is to Trudeau. Trudeau has called him "a best friend" and they have been friends since college. He is rare in that is loyalty is to JT the person rather than JT the PM or leader of the Liberal Party. While, I think this whole business is just more shady Liberal crap, I can't fault Butts for falling on his sword to help a friend. I would do it but I would do it if I was JT as well. I've never been PM but I have taken the heat for my subordinates f*@k ups enough times, you know like a leader is supposed to.