Christy Clark says Jody Wilson-Raybould should have reported any inappropriate PMO pressure

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Published Feb. 15, 2019 6:42 p.m. ET
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Former B.C. premier Christy Clark says that if Jody Wilson-Raybould felt she was being inappropriately pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office in the SNC-Lavalin case, it was her responsibility to report it and resign.

“If the minister had been inappropriately pressured, she had a duty under the law – which she would have been aware of -- to report that and resign,” she told CTV’s Power Play on Friday. “She didn’t do that.”

Clark added that Wilson-Raybould “is a very ethical person,” and so “the fact that she didn’t report it suggests to me that it probably didn’t happen.”

Wilson-Raybould left her cabinet post earlier this week, shortly after the Globe and Mail reported the PMO allegedly pushed her to encourage a deal in the prosecution of corruption charges levied against Quebec engineering company SNC-Lavalin. Wilson-Raybould has yet to address the allegations head-on, citing solicitor client privilege.

She has retained a lawyer in order to determine what she is legally permitted to discuss.

Clark said that it’s important the federal ethics commissioner be permitted to carry out his probe because he is “an independent person who can’t be foiled or thwarted,” unlike the House of Common’s Liberal-dominated justice committee’s investigation, which is “all politics.”

Clark said that if the PMO wanted a remediation deal instead of criminal prosecution in the SNC-Lavalin case, it was “the right thing to do” because of the number of jobs that could be lost if the company were to be found guilty.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “ran on jobs, middle-class jobs,” she said.

Clark said that as a premier, when a minister won’t execute the government’s will, “you either persuade them to do so or find a new minister.” But she also said that pressuring a minister to obstruct a criminal investigation is “a very clear, bright line that you can’t cross.”

Government officials are likely to know where that line is, she added, because “these issues don’t come up infrequently when statutory decision makers need to make a decision.”

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