In the latest evidence to the Justice Committee, former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould admits to secretly recording a call with the Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick. The audio recording of the call and public testimony from Wilson-Raybould were both released this afternoon.
The evidence is part of a Justice Committee hearing that is looking into whether or not the Prime Minister's office unduly pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was the Attorney General at the time, to offer SNC Lavalin a deferred prosecution, a legal tool that can be used in some criminal cases. SNC is an engineering firm that employs over 9000 Canadians. They are currently facing bribery charges.
In this scandal, the Prime Minister's office has maintained that their concern from day one has always been protecting Canadian jobs and that they never pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould. She claims they did and today a recording was publicly released of a conversation between Wilson-Raybould and Clerk Michael Wernick, who works closely with the Prime Minister's Office.
However, in releasing the phone call recording, Wilson-Raybould also admitted to the committee that she actually secretly recorded the phone call and Wernick had no idea. While she acknowledged this was wrong, she also gave her reasoning for doing so, claiming that she felt pressured to intervene in the SNC Lavalin criminal case.
In her written submission, Wilson-Raybould said, "I was anxious to ensure that I had an exact record of what was discussed as I have reason to believe that it was likely to be an inappropriate conversation."
That's what she said led to her decision to record the call. She explained, "while I typed out notes during the phone call I took the extraordinary and otherwise inappropriate step of making an audio recording of the conversation without so advising the clerk."
Despite admitting that this is inappropriate, what Wilson-Raybould did isn't actually illegal. When it comes to recording phone calls in Canada, Wilson-Raybould is protected by what is known as one party consent.
This rule essentially means that so long as one of the parties in the phone call is aware that it is being recorded, you aren't breaking any laws. In the case of this secret phone call recording, Wilson-Raybould was aware that the recording was taking place and as one of the parties of the call, that means she gave consent. Therefore, this particular phone recording, though a secret wasn't illegal.
Since the audio recording has come out Canadians have been divided with some saying that this is grounds for Trudeau to resign immediately stating the audio recording confirms Wilson-Raybould's claims that she was indeed pressured by the PM's office, while others don't think the phone call offers anything new.
You can listen to the entire call and read the transcript of the testimony here.