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This Etobicoke home was hiding secrets in its basement. This family dug them up




The Vaccarellis like to unwind from a busy day with a good television show in the family room. They’ve been doing that for years, unaware that the creepy crawl space below the room was filled with archeological treasures from pioneer families who also lived on this same land. Those families had different options for relaxing, judging by the bits of smoking pipes and a mouth harp found in the soil.

There have always been signs that their home in North Etobicoke had a story to tell. Vito and Teresa Vaccarelli bought the farmhouse in 2001, and since then, their three children have found old pieces of pottery and rusted coins in the garden. The front of the home, with its gingerbread detailing, faced west toward Mimico Creek. It was the ideal position when this was a lonely farm in the 1870s, but when the street began to fill in with bungalows in the 1950s, the house looked backwards. The outhouse was in the front yard, as far as the new neighbours were concerned.

Vito Vaccarelli, a high school teacher with a background in archeology, has uncovered a trove of artifacts during a reno project for his historic Etobicoke home. He’s standing in his basement with his wife, Teresa, daughter Avree, son Francesco, and his daughter Liana, holding a ceramic chicken she found.
Vito Vaccarelli, a high school teacher with a background in archeology, has uncovered a trove of artifacts during a reno project for his historic Etobicoke home. He’s standing in his basement with his wife, Teresa, daughter Avree, son Francesco, and his daughter Liana, holding a ceramic chicken she found.  (Rene Johnston / Toronto Star)

In September, Vito Vaccarelli took a yearlong unpaid leave from his job as a high school history teacher to supervise renovations of the heritage home, which included underpinning and lowering the basement and excavating the crawl space beneath the family room.

Vaccarelli has a master’s degree in anthropology, specializing in Euro-Canadian archeology. He worked as an archeologist at several sites, including Hamilton’s Dundurn Castle, Toronto’s Fort York and Highway 407, before he began his teaching career. While artifacts had turned up in his yard over the years, he wasn’t sure what he’d find inside the home, if anything.

The soil-filled crawl space had only been accessible by a hatch in the floor, which was carved sometime in the 1950s when the home was upgraded and turned into rental units. The crawl space was not a nice place to be, with about half a metre of space on top of the soil. It had been sealed off from the rest of the basement by a stone wall in the 1870s, when the Coulter family built the farmhouse.

When a crew took the crawl-space wall down this past fall, Vaccarelli saw the dirt in layers — broken bricks and old demolition debris at the top, the glacial deposits of sand and clay near the bottom of the room, and not far above that, a thin layer of ashy charcoal soil where he found fragments of plates from the early 19th century and blacksmith coins that predated official currency. The soil was dry but it smelled like a century of rodents, and he saw why: there were little tunnels everywhere, and as he’d discover, many historical mouse droppings in the insulation.

Based on his extensive research, he knew that Robert Coulter and his wife lived in a one-storey log cabin on this parcel of land in 1851. Later tax assessments suggested the cabin was replaced by something better, but he was never sure exactly where or when the buildings existed. The documents could only go so far. Etobicoke Township was surveyed in 1795, and this particular acreage — Lot 13 of Concession One — first appeared on the books in 1809, when the land was granted to Eleanor Stephenson, the daughter of a prominent military man who served under John Graves Simcoe.

The next year, the property changed hands and the new owner was a man who would soon be serving in the War of 1812. There were some plate fragments that reflected this early era, and many more objects that show an early occupation “by at least 1820-1830,” Vaccarelli says.

Based on the sheer number and age of artifacts, Vaccarelli believes the earlier pioneer homes were built on the same footprint his farmhouse now occupies. In the kitchen, he holds a dainty sewing pin in his hand. “People don’t carry safety pins through the forest. Safety pins get lost through floorboards.”

The heritage home east of Highway 427. In 1851, Robert Coulter and his wife Ann Jane lived in a log cabin on the site.
The heritage home east of Highway 427. In 1851, Robert Coulter and his wife Ann Jane lived in a log cabin on the site.  (Rene Johnston)

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport regulates archeology in Ontario. A spokesperson with the ministry says that if homeowners find an artifact while excavating or building, they should leave it where it was found and contact a licensed archeologist who can recommend next steps. The ministry issues licences to archeologists, and requires that archeologists preserve the artifacts they find and report on the work they do.

Vaccarelli had an archeological research licence for the house back in 2003, to document the items that turned up in an earlier renovation.There were always new finds that kept delaying his final report and he was always tracking down new information about the home’s occupants, including Victor Kugler. Kugler was a member of the Dutch resistance who helped Anne Frank and her family hide in the secret annex in Amsterdam, and was one of the first tenants of the home in the 1950s, when Robert Coulter’s granddaughter turned the farmhouse into apartments.

Referred to in early editions of her diary by the pseudonym “Mr. Kraler,” Kugler was an employee of Anne’s father, Otto Frank, and as Anne noted in her diary, he was the one who came up with the idea to hide the entrance behind a bookcase that opened like a door. He continued to help the family until the annex was discovered, and he was sent to prison and then a series of hard-labour camps.

He later moved with his second wife to Canada, where he lived as a tenant at the Coulter house until 1965. He worked as an electrician and insurance agent in Toronto and was recognized by Israel as a “Righteous among the Nations” for helping the Frank family. Kugler also received honours for his ongoing work challenging Holocaust deniers.

The house was endlessly interesting, and cataloguing the latest archeological finds along with the stories became an ongoing family hobby. Amid his busy life with three children and his teaching job, Vaccarelli never completed the report, which he had tentatively titled “Rodents in the soffit, heritage in the garden,” although he knows the ministry officials would probably prefer something like “Coulter site: final report.”

Vaccarelli imagines there are many homes and sites where found artifacts are “being lost on a daily basis.” His licence had expired but he wanted to save everything. He says he is in the process of reactivating the licence with the ministry.

“I still feel that I have this professional responsibility to deal with it as best as possible,” he says. “Heritage preservation is something that has always been under attack … people see it as a burden, a waste of time and money.”

But for Vaccarelli, the archeology was an important part of the story that needed to be protected. It answered questions the documents could not. Once the renovations are completed, he plans to fully research and date the artifacts, create a database, and file his report to the ministry. Through that process, he hopes that his home will become an officially recognized archeological site.

Most of the farmhouse basement foundation was cut stone packed with mortar, but once excavation began, Vaccarelli noticed the crawl space foundation was a shallow, four-foot trench packed with dry-laid field stones, brick rubble and large granite boulders. Nothing was squared. He thinks that the Coulter family reused the foundation of the older log or frame home for this part of the basement, and tossed in some of the debris from that building (like the bricks from an old chimney and fireplace) to help bolster the foundation for the back section of their new farmhouse.

Excavation of the crawl space was delicate and strategic given the state of the foundation. As crews removed the soil in stages, Vaccarelli assigned each quadrant a letter and a number so he could track the depth and location of each item found in the soil, which is important context about the site. Once sections were removed, he sifted through the soil and placed the items in systematically labelled small plastic bags, causing the family’s Ziploc stocks to reach historic lows.

“Chances are, people are reading this and thinking it is over-the-top ridiculous,” he says.

As crews removed the soil in stages, Vaccarelli assigned each quadrant a letter and a number so he could track the depth and location of each item found. Once sections were removed, he sifted through the soil and placed the items in labelled small Ziplocs.
As crews removed the soil in stages, Vaccarelli assigned each quadrant a letter and a number so he could track the depth and location of each item found. Once sections were removed, he sifted through the soil and placed the items in labelled small Ziplocs.  (Rene Johnston)

Robert Coulter was an infant when his parents, Andrew and Martha, first arrived in a deeply forested Etobicoke in 1822, “It was dark and gloomy,” says Denise Harris, the chief historian with the Etobicoke Historical Society. Land was cleared in small portions so newcomers could begin planting the food they would need to survive.

“They were driven crazy by the trees, because it was so hard to get rid of them,” she says.

The first lot the Coulter family bought was to the east of modern Highway 427. Mimico Creek ran through the property and Coulter’s father Andrew operated a sawmill, back when the creek still had a reliable flow of water. Most settlers were living in rough-hewn lumber cabins, slowly cutting down the forest to farm the land.

In 1830, the family had prospered enough that Andrew Coulter bought another 100-acre lot on Mimico Creek, near modern-day Martin Grove and Rathburn Rds. This is the lot where the Vaccarellis now live. (Most of the 100 acres have been swallowed by suburbs.) Coulter sold part of the property off in 1835, but his oldest son, Robert Coulter, bought it back not long after, preparing for a life of his own.

In 1851, Robert Coulter — nearing 30 — and his wife Ann Jane, 20, were newly married and living in a log cabin when their first child died of influenza, Vaccarelli says. He believes the cabin was likely in bad shape by that time, and maybe that spurred them to eventually build something better.

An agricultural census of 1851 shows that Robert Coulter’s property had 40 acres of tree cover, and he was growing wheat and barley, and had an orchard. A log structure was still there in 1861 with five children added to the family. The next census in 1871 listed “three houses owned” by Coulter, according to a city heritage report. Vaccarelli says that during the day, the main room of the cabin would have been the scene of female domestic chores, like sewing and cooking. (He found fine china fragments, part of utensils and buttons.) It’s also where children would have played — hence the ceramic chicken figure — and at night, the family likely sang and told stories.

A photo of the Coulter family, minus the patriarch, Robert, who died a couple of years before this photo was taken, circa 1890.
A photo of the Coulter family, minus the patriarch, Robert, who died a couple of years before this photo was taken, circa 1890.

By the middle of the 19th century close to 3,000 people lived in Etobicoke, and half of the land had been cleared, Harris says. The pioneer era was coming to an end as farmers began to specialize, and their growing prosperity led many of them to ditch the log cabin in favour of something more stable, like a brick home.

The nearest community was Richview, a hamlet with a blacksmith, tavern and a post office, a half-hour walk north along the creek. Robert Coulter was a farmer — like everybody else — but he was also a co-founder of a non-denominational chapel that became Richview United Church, and a public school trustee.

With their own fortunes growing, Robert Coulter built his modern farmhouse during the 1870s.

Vaccarelli thinks many of the fragments and items he found in soil belonged to the Coulter family, but there are many fragments of lives that came before, too.

In the layer of soil just below what he came to call the “pioneer layer” he found around 60 flakes of Onondaga chert — a type of stone that was good for making tools because of its tendency to break into sharp edges. A few flakes might not be significant, but this amount suggested that an Indigenous person had perhaps fashioned an arrowhead or a spear point nearby. He didn’t find either of those tools, and no other signs of a long-term Indigenous settlement, but Vaccarelli wondered about a temporary campsite, given the proximity to Mimico Creek.

The headwaters of Mimico Creek are in Brampton, and the narrow creek winds through Mississauga, just east of the airport, and into the western swath of Toronto on its way to Lake Ontario. The creek has not been researched very well when it comes to Indigenous history, Harris says. The Mississaugas were one of the most recent groups to use it. “They would go further north hunting and fishing, and come down the creek valley, on their way back home closer to Lake Ontario,” she says. “That’s about all we know.”

Jon Johnson, a lead organizer with First Story Toronto, a tour company that explores the Indigenous history of the city, says Mimico is an anglicized version of the word “omiimiikaa,” which refers to the wild pigeons that used to roost in the area. (The Toronto Region Conservation Authority notes that “the extinct passenger pigeon” stopped over in the creek during migration.) Johnson said the creek could have been a good place for hunting, accessed by a trail system nearby. There was a Mississauga village at the mouth of the Humber, he noted, and “It would have been a well travelled area for perhaps millennia,” he writes in an email.

Vaccarelli imagines that European settlers were drawn to sites that were already cleared in some way. “We often forget that pioneer farmers followed paths that were laid out by Indigenous people thousands of years before,” he says.

Vaccarelli stresses that archeology is not treasure hunting. There is little monetary value to the items he has found. He hopes to find them a good home at a local heritage site. Their true value, he says, is in the stories they tell.

A view from the Robert Coulter property, looking northwest towards Martin Grove Rd. in 1956, at the cusp of the countryside’s suburban development.
A view from the Robert Coulter property, looking northwest towards Martin Grove Rd. in 1956, at the cusp of the countryside’s suburban development.

Robert and Ann Jane Coulter were buried at Richview Memorial Cemetery. The hamlet where they used to pick up supplies disappeared with the expansion of Pearson airport, but you’ll still find the Coulters in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cemetery where the ramps of Highway 427, Highway 401 and Eglinton Ave. intersect. The church that used to be next door was moved when the highways came, but the cemetery has stood its ground, which is soft underfoot on a warm winter day, surrounded by an incessant drone of traffic gearing up for a high-speed merge.

During Coulter’s lifetime, it was a peaceful spot a short walk from his home, with forests and fields and cows grazing nearby. The only cows these days are the ones loaded into transport trucks.

The Coulters may have stopped time in their crawl space for close to 150 years, when they heaved old debris into the soil to shore up the foundation of their new life — but the progress they set in motion never stopped. Once smothered by majestic forests, the Etobicoke pioneers are now locked in by a swirl of concrete, their graves only seen fleetingly as travellers drive by on their way to somewhere else.

Katie Daubs is a reporter and feature writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @kdaubs

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Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’s running for president in 2020





WASHINGTON – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose insurgent 2016 presidential campaign reshaped Democratic politics, announced Tuesday that he is running for president in 2020.

“Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump,” the 77-year-old self-described democratic socialist said in an email to supporters. “Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”

An enthusiastic progressive who embraces proposals ranging from Medicare for All to free college tuition, Sanders stunned the Democratic establishment in 2016 with his spirited challenge to Hillary Clinton. While she ultimately became the party’s nominee, his campaign helped lay the groundwork for the leftward lurch that has dominated Democratic politics in the Trump era.

The question now for Sanders is whether he can stand out in a crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates who also embrace many of his policy ideas and are newer to the national political stage. That’s far different from 2016, when he was Clinton’s lone progressive adversary.

Still, there is no question that Sanders will be a formidable contender for the Democratic nomination. He won more than 13 million votes in 2016 and dozens of primaries and caucuses. He opens his campaign with a nationwide organization and a proven small-dollar fundraising effort.

“We’re gonna win,” Sanders told CBS.

He said he was going to launch “what I think is unprecedented in modern American history”: a grassroots movement “to lay the groundwork for transforming the economic and political life of this country.”

Sanders described his new White House bid as a “continuation of what we did in 2016,” noting that policies he advocated for then are now embraced by the Democratic Party.

“You know what’s happened in over three years?” he said. “All of these ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream.”

Sanders could be well positioned to compete in the nation’s first primary in neighbouring New Hampshire, which he won by 22 points in 2016. But he won’t have the state to himself.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California, another Democratic presidential contender, was in New Hampshire on Monday and said she’d compete for the state. She also appeared to take a dig at Sanders.

“The people of New Hampshire will tell me what’s required to compete in New Hampshire,” she told shoppers at a bookstore in Concord. “But I will tell you I’m not a democratic socialist.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of nearby Massachusetts will be in New Hampshire on Friday.

One of the biggest questions surrounding Sanders’ candidacy is how he’ll compete against someone like Warren, who shares many of his policy goals. Warren has already launched her campaign and has planned an aggressive swing through the early primary states.

Shortly after announcing her exploratory committee, Warren hired Brendan Summers, who managed Sanders’ 2016 Iowa campaign. Other staffers from Sanders’ first bid also have said they would consider working for other candidates in 2020.

The crowded field includes a number of other candidates who will likely make strong appeals to the Democratic base including Harris and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. The field could also grow, with a number of high-profile Democrats still considering presidential bids, including former Vice-President Joe Biden and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

While Sanders had been working to lay the groundwork for a second campaign for months, it was unclear whether he will be able to expand his appeal beyond his largely white base of supporters. In 2016, Sanders notably struggled to garner support from black voters, an issue that could become particularly pervasive during a primary race that could include several non-white candidates.

Last month, he joined Booker at an event in Columbia, South Carolina, marking the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. In 2016, Sanders lost the South Carolina primary, which features a heavily black electorate, by 47 points.

Sanders also faces different pressures in the #MeToo era. Some of his male staffers and supporters in 2016 were described as “Bernie bros” for their treatment of women.

In the run-up to Sanders’ 2020 announcement, persistent allegations emerged of sexual harassment of women by male staffers during his 2016 campaign. Politico and The New York Times reported several allegations of unwanted sexual advances and pay inequity.

In an interview with CNN after the initial allegations surfaced, Sanders apologized but also noted he was “a little busy running around the country trying to make the case.”

As additional allegations emerged, he offered a more unequivocal apology.

“What they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign — or any campaign — should be about,” Sanders said Jan. 10 on Capitol Hill. “Every woman in this country who goes to work today or tomorrow has the right to make sure that she is working in an environment which is free of harassment, which is safe and is comfortable, and I will do my best to make that happen.”

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





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.

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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.”

Charges against SNC-Lavalin explained — and how the PMO allegedly got involved

Ipsos was in the field last week, after revelations surfaced that, last fall, while she was justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould felt that unnamed individuals in the prime minister’s office were pressuring her to intervene in a criminal court case in favour of Quebec-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin. Those allegations were first reported by the Globe and Mail, citing unnamed sources.

If she did feel pressured, she did not act and did not intervene on behalf of SNC-Lavalin. But a few months later, she was shuffled out of her job as justice minister and attorney general and into the job of veterans affairs minister.

Then, last week, as Liberals themselves seemed divided over the optics of seeing the country’s first-ever Indigenous justice minister being shuffled aside for what appeared to be craven political calculations, Wilson-Raybould stepped down from cabinet altogether.

WATCH: Jody Wilson-Raybould quits Trudeau cabinet

Meanwhile, all through the week, Trudeau and other Liberals struggled to explain what had happened while Wilson-Raybould announced she had retained a former Supreme Court justice to provide her with advice about what, if anything, she might say about the whole matter.

Voters took notice.

Ipsos found that, among the 1,002 Canadians it surveyed online from Thursday through to Monday, nearly half or 49 per cent said they were aware of this rapidly shifting story involving SNC Lavalin, Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould.

And it appears many are changing their opinion of the government as a result.

Justin Trudeau’s top adviser Gerald Butts resigns amid SNC-Lavalin affair

Support for the Trudeau Liberals is now at 34 per cent, 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.

“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.”

The NDP and its leader Jagmeet Singh, meanwhile, continue to languish, with 17 per cent support right now versus 18 per cent at year-end.

The poll was out of the field before Monday afternoon’s bombshell news that Gerald Butts had quit his post as the prime minister’s principal secretary. Butts, one of Trudeau’s closest friends, had played a critical role in the revival of Liberal fortune and was, along with Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford, central to Trudeau administration. Butts said he had done nothing wrong but was resigning to avoid being a further distraction to the government’s agenda.

WATCH: Justin Trudeau’s top adviser Gerald Butts resigns amid SNC-Lavalin controversy

In any event, Ipsos found that even before that additional turmoil, voter approval of the Trudeau government had dropped nine points since the beginning of the year down to 42 per cent in its most recent pulse-taking.

Trudeau’s own personal approval rating is now two points lower than it was after his disastrous trip to India this time last year.

“Those who strongly disapprove of his performance now outnumber those who strongly approve by a margin of four to one,” Bricker said.

Halifax artist apologizes for controversial cartoon of Jody Wilson-Raybould

And yet, Trudeau is still doing better than his two main rivals, Scheer and Singh, who continue to have lower approval ratings than Trudeau.

“All is not bad for Trudeau,” Bricker said. “When assessed head to head with his major rivals, Scheer and Singh, he still does well on specific leadership attributes. Although the gap appears to be closing now.”

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.

A margin-of-error could not be calculated for this poll as the sample surveyed was not drawn randomly. That said, Ipsos says the accuracy of its polls can be gauged using a statistical measure known as a credibility interval. Applying this technique to this poll, Ipsos believes this poll would be accurate to within 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, compared to a poll of all Canadian adults

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between Feb. 14 and Feb. 18, with a sample of 1,002 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Canadians deserve answers’: Opposition to press on with parliamentary probe after Gerald Butts resignation





A day after the bombshell departure of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s closest adviser, the SNC-Lavalin affair shows no sign of abating as the opposition parties cast his resignation as a sign there may be more to the scandal than initially thought.

The House of Commons justice committee will reconvene today to continue its study of a report that senior members of the Prime Minister’s Office pressured former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to help Quebec-based multinational engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution on bribery and fraud charges in relation to contracts in Libya.

Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s principal secretary and right-hand man, resigned Monday stating definitively that neither he or anyone else in the PMO pressured Wilson-Raybould to direct the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to sign a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) — a legal tool resembling a plea deal — with SNC-Lavalin.

« At all times, I and those around me acted with integrity and a singular focus on the best interests of all Canadians, » Butts said Monday.

Rather than wipe the slate clean, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Butts’ departure « does not in any way settle this matter. In fact, it presents even more questions that must be answered. »

Scheer said the staff changeover is a sign the prime minister is « desperate to keep the truth hidden. »

« Conservatives on the justice committee will continue to demand a thorough and public investigation, and all other options remain on the table, » Scheer said.

NDP MP Charlie Angus, the party’s ethics critic, said Butts’ departure — he calls the former staffer the « architect of the Sunny Ways » Trudeau playbook — could provoke a « political revolution. »

« For Gerry Butts to resign shows how much damage [the scandal] has done inside the Prime Minister’s Office … If Mr. Butts is willing to take a jump for the prime minister, at this point, it shows that they’re in free fall and total damage control, » Angus said in an interview with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

« The best thing the prime minister could do to restore public confidence is come into the House and agree to an independent inquiry … or else these questions are going to continue. »

The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing. He has said he told Wilson-Raybould last fall that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions were hers alone.

The Liberal and opposition members of the justice committee are expected to squabble today over who should be called to testify at the committee and just how wide-reaching the parliamentary probe should be.

At the top of the opposition witness wish list is Butts himself, but also Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from cabinet last week after the Globe and Mail published its initial report.

Wilson-Raybould had been demoted from the high-profile justice portfolio to the Veterans Affairs ministry in January.

Wilson-Raybould has stayed silent, claiming solicitor-client privilege — as attorney general, she was the government’s top lawyer — prevents her from speaking publicly.

She has taken the highly unusual step of retaining Thomas Cromwell, a recently retired Supreme Court justice, as her legal counsel as the scandal enters a new phase.

While the Liberal-controlled justice committee has agreed to study the matter, Liberal MPs defeated an NDP motion that would have compelled Butts and Wilson-Raybould to appear.

Following normal parliamentary procedure with respect to committee planning, members will discuss who they will call to the committee and define the scope of its investigation in private. The opposition parties had demanded these proceedings be held in public, whereas Liberals successfully pushed for closed-door discussions.

The parliamentary probe itself is expected to be televised.

More to come?

Opposition members have pointed to one line of Butts’ resignation statement in particular as an indication that there might be more developments to come.

Butts said, « My reputation is my responsibility and that is for me to defend. It is in the best interests of the office and its important work for me to step away. »

Not satisfied with a committee study alone, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling for a public inquiry into the government’s handling — and allegations of political interference — of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Singh is demanding Trudeau waive solicitor-client privilege to allow his former justice minister to speak freely. Trudeau has said the privilege question is complicated and he is awaiting advice from current Attorney General David Lametti on what he can say in public. He has also said some of the government’s handling of the case is protected by cabinet confidentiality.

Speaking to reporters in B.C. a week out from the Burnaby South byelection in which he is running, Singh said intransigence by Liberal members of the justice committee demands another forum for investigation.

He said a public inquiry is the best way to « get to the bottom of what’s happened. »

« The scandal cuts to the heart of our democracy, » Singh said. « Canadians deserve a government that works for them, not a powerful multinational corporation that has deep ties to the Liberal Party. »

In addition to the committee study, federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is examining the prime minister personally for any potential ethics code violations.

Trudeau loses long-time political ally

​In a tweet Monday, Trudeau said Butts served Canada with « integrity, sage advice and devotion. » He thanked the former staffer for his service and « continued friendship. »

In addition to the political partnership, the prime minister is close friends with Butts — a relationship that dates back to their time as students at McGill University in Montreal where they were members of the campus debating club.

Born in Glace Bay, N.S., a coal-mining town on Cape Breton Island, Butts worked on public policy in Ontario before becoming a senior staffer under former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty at Queen’s Park.

Butts then made the leap to federal politics and helped chart Trudeau’s political future as leader of the Liberal Party and later prime minister.

Trudeau chats with Butts after the Liberal leadership debate in Mississauga, Ont., on Feb. 16, 2013. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Praised by his allies as a brilliant mind, and vilified by foes as the political puppet master behind the prime minister, Butts said Monday he is proud of his time as Trudeau’s top adviser.

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« J’ai dû rêver trop fort » : Michel Bussi dit comment son livre a inspiré Gauvain Sers

Actualités2 semaines ago

Egypte : des catacombes vieilles de 2000 ans enfin préservées des eaux souterraines

Actualités2 semaines ago

Espace: SpaceX et la Nasa s’entraînent pour les vols habités

Actualités2 semaines ago

Saint-Étienne installe des capteurs sonores en pleine ville, une première en France

Actualités2 semaines ago

Mini Cheetah, le petit robot du MIT capable de faire des saltos arrière

Uncategorized2 semaines ago

Pour prévenir les fusillades de masse, les Etats-Unis se tournent vers l’intelligence artificielle

Anglais4 mois ago

Body found after downtown Lethbridge apartment building fire, police investigating – Lethbridge

Anglais2 mois ago

Man facing eviction from family home on Toronto Islands gets reprieve — for now

Anglais2 mois ago

27 CP Rail cars derail near Lake Louise, Alta.

Santé Et Nutrition5 mois ago

Gluten-Free Muffins

Anglais2 mois ago

This B.C. woman’s recipe is one of the most popular of all time — and the story behind it is bananas

Santé Et Nutrition3 mois ago

We Try Kin Euphorics and How to REALLY Get the Glow | Healthyish

Anglais3 mois ago

Trudeau government would reject Jason Kenney, taxpayers group in carbon tax court fight

Anglais4 mois ago

Ontario Tories argue Trudeau’s carbon plan is ‘unconstitutional’

Mode2 mois ago

Paris : chez Cécile Roederer co-fondatrice de Smallable

Anglais1 mois ago

A photo taken on Toronto’s Corso Italia 49 years ago became a family legend. No one saw it — until now

Styles De Vie6 mois ago

Renaud Capuçon, rédacteur en chef du Figaroscope

Anglais4 mois ago

100 years later, Montreal’s Black Watch regiment returns to Wallers, France

Anglais2 mois ago

Province’s push for private funding, additional stops puts Scarborough subway at risk of delays

Anglais1 mois ago

This couple shares a 335-square-foot micro condo on Queen St. — and loves it

Anglais6 mois ago

Condo developer Thomas Liu — who collected millions but hasn’t built anything — loses court fight with Town of Ajax

Styles De Vie2 mois ago

Le Michelin salue le dynamisme de la gastronomie française

Styles De Vie2 mois ago

quel avenir pour le Carré des Horlogers?

Mode5 mois ago

Kid’s collections : Little Hedonist

Anglais2 mois ago

Home sales decline in Saskatoon during 2018 as prices continue to slide – Saskatoon

Anglais5 mois ago

Hackers target federal government networks an average of 474 million times per day, memo shows