Trudeau had originally planned to attend a public event at a local Canadian Tire store in Regina's south end; he had also planned to deliver a speech to a Liberal fundraising event Tuesday evening at the city's Conexus Arts Centre. It could threaten the political future of the country's leader and the rule of the Liberal Party, seven months ahead of national elections.
Former Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould arrives to give her testimony about the SNC-LAVALIN affair before a justice committee hearing on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 27, 2019.
Don Rusnak says he still stands behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, insisting what has come out publicly so far as the SNC-Lavalin scandal continues to evolve is only one side of the story.
If convicted criminally, the Montreal-based company would be banned from receiving any federal government business for a decade.
Butts says he and others tried only to persuade Wilson-Raybould to seek independent legal advice on the matter, given the potential impact on the company's 9,000 employees and the fact that remediation agreements are a new feature in Canadian law.
She told the Prime Minister she anxious that Wilson-Raybauld might wonder if the move was connected to the SNC-Lavalin affair.
"I do not see how our brief discussion of that file constituted pressure of any kind", he said.
He added that Wilson-Raybould only flagged issues over the behaviour of Trudeau government staff after she moved from justice to the veterans affairs portfolio. But Wilson-Raybould said the pressure was not illegal and said she was not instructed to interfere.
Wilson-Raybould said 11 officials and ministers had contacted her and her office a total of 20 times over four months about the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Wilson-Raybould alleged that Butts was one of multiple senior staffers within the Prime Minister's Office that applied what she believed was inappropriate pressure.
Butts said on Wednesday the SNC-Lavalin issue had nothing to do with the Cabinet shuffle, which he said was prompted by the political retirement of Treasury Board minister Scott Brison.
Mr Butts said that it was always understood that any final decision on whether to offer SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement was for the attorney general alone to make. But, a spokeswoman for the company said Trudeau changed his schedule. "I want to thank her for her service", Trudeau said at a campaign-style event.
"Previous prime ministers benefited from experience and seniority, or respect, or fear, or just the feeling that they knew the way better than anybody else".
Through his testimony, Butts framed the conflict between Wilson-Raybould and the Prime Minister's Office as a "breakdown in trust" precipitated by the January cabinet shuffle.
Wiseman said the last time he can recall something like this was in 1963 when three Cabinet ministers resigned over then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's opposition to the stationing of American nuclear weapons on Canadian soil.