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Justin Trudeau Chalks Recent Political Turmoil Up To 'Erosion Of Trust'

09 Mars 2019

Wilson-Raybould, who also served as Canada's attorney general, had complained that Michael Wernick - head of the non-partisan federal civil service - made veiled threats to her in December as he stressed the need to settle the matter.

She accused Trudeau, Butts, other senior staff in the Prime Minister's Office, Wernick and Finance Minister Bill Morneau's office of inappropriately pressuring her to halt a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

Wilson-Raybould testified that when she was attorney general she was pressured by top government officials, including the prime minister, to step in and resolve the corruption and fraud case against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

Gerry Butts, an architect of Trudeau's 2015 victory and a longtime friend, quit as his principal secretary last month, saying he did not want to become a distraction as the government braces for a tough general election in eight months.

Marques and Bouchard were two of the leading advisers on the SNC-Lavalin file who met with members of the justice ministry and others following the September 4 decision.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called Trudeau's performance "a completely phoney act of fake sincerity" and repeated his call for the prime minister to resign. "That is a fact".

By his taking at least part of the blame for the crisis that's rocked his government, Liberals are hoping Trudeau's statement will be sufficient for Wilson-Raybould and Philpott to let the matter drop and move on. Instead, she was moved to the Veterans Affairs post.

Butts, in his opening statement, told the committee that he believed any discussions that Prime Minister's Office officials had with Wilson-Raybould were about asking for her to consider a second opinion. "Justin Trudeau refuses to allow her to speak - hiding behind cabinet privilege".

During her prior testimony, Wilson-Raybould had accused members of the PMO of continued pressure to get her to intervene on SNC-Lavalin's behalf.

"I think its quite plausible that Gerry Butts didn't register how distressed Jody Wilson-Raybould was particularly because their conversation was friendly", May said.

South Shore-St. Margaret's MP Bernadette Jordan, who was appointed to the newly created cabinet position of minister of rural economic development in the January shuffle, told SaltWire she was "disappointed" by Philpott's resignation, but said her confidence in the PM and his commitment to gender balance remains unshaken.

Was the attorney general "obligated to bring fresh eyes to new evidence" in the specific case of SNC-Lavalin? If she deemed an agreement appropriate, the attorney general would then appoint another agent to negotiate it. Butts also insisted that if Brison had not resigned, Wilson-Raybould would be justice minister today.

Robinson took issue with a tweet from Terry Beech that called for unity among Liberals after senior cabinet minister Jane Philpott resigned from cabinet in solidarity with Wilson-Raybould.

The unusual thing is that everyone in Ottawa seemed to know that Ms. Wilson-Raybould never wanted the Indigenous portfolio - that she was against the Indian Act, and would not be the one to administer it - everyone, it seems, except Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Butts. If it's convicted, SNC-Lavalin could be banned from federal contracts for 10 years.

Her department prepared the report, which she said constituted legal advice, but before sending the report to the Privy Council Office, Drouin consulted Wilson-Raybould.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters that Butts' testimony "in no way" addressed the key questions of the controversy.

He said the SNC-Lavalin file came up briefly at the end of their two-hour meeting and that Wilson-Raybould asked him if he had an opinion on it. Based on what Butts says in his testimony, things may improve for Trudeau - or they may not. Wernick has also been pictured wearing the pin during his time as deputy minister in the Department of Indigenous Affairs. The SNC-Lavalin situation was one of another list of issues, which Drouin said was proper.

He planned to back up his version of events with emails, text messages and other documentation, much as Wilson-Raybould did in her testimony.

That pressure was not illegal, she said, but "raised serious red flags in my view".

Wilson-Raybould has a lot of reasons to be fuming about the former principal secretary's unsworn testimony.

Justin Trudeau Chalks Recent Political Turmoil Up To 'Erosion Of Trust'