Andrew Scheer calls for Trudeau to resign following Wilson-Raybould testimony

01 March, 2019, 00:24 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson Raybould walks to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 26 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Sean Kilpatrick

Following Wilson-Raybould's appearance before the Justice Committee, opposition leader Andrew Scheer said Trudeau had lost the "moral authority" to govern.

The Montreal engineering giant was, and is, facing charges of fraud and corruption related to attempts to get business in Libya.

Trudeau's response appeared to be both a denial and an affirmation: "The prime minister said, 'No, no, no - we just need to find a solution'".

In one such conversation with Trudeau, Wilson-Raybould said he told her to "find a solution" to the case because there were jobs at stake and a risk that the company's headquarters could be moved to the United Kingdom.

This is a developing story.

Ms Wilson-Raybould said officials imposed "consistent and sustained pressure" on her from September to December previous year to ensure SNC-Lavalin pay a large fine rather than go to trial. But another senior member of the Liberal Party said there was growing unhappiness among legislators about how Trudeau's team had handled the matter and said the prime minister needed to replace some of his staff.

Testifying Wednesday to the House of Commons justice committee, Wilson-Raybould said she believes she was shuffled out of the justice portfolio because she refused to give in.

Wilson-Raybould said that this pressure campaign continued into December, when Jessica Prince, her chief of staff, was summoned to meet with Butts, who has denied improperly interfering in the matter, and Katie Telford, Trudeau's chief of staff.

Trudeau said that while he discussed the issue with Wilson-Raybould, he maintained that was not inappropriate. The political fallout, however, is hard to predict. Trudeau's path to re-election runs through the largely French-speaking province, where his defense of SNC-Lavalin is being applauded. Trudeau at first sought to downplay it by saying Wilson-Raybould's presence in cabinet should speak for itself. Further, the RCMP must immediately open an investigation - if it has not already done so - into the numerous examples of obstruction of justice the former Attorney General detailed in her testimony.

The country's top civil servant last week told the justice committee he believes there was no improper pressure applied to Wilson-Raybould by him or anyone else.

But Legault said today that a lengthy criminal trial for SNC-Lavalin, and the 10-year ban on bidding for federal contracts that would result from a conviction, could lead to the loss of many good jobs in Quebec.

Eight top managers of SNC-Lavalin are accused of bribing foreign officials.

Opposition Conservatives are calling on the Liberal PM to resign.

"I totally disagree with the former attorney general's characterization [of discussions] in her testimony", said Trudeau.

The former AG says Trudeau and his staff spent months trying to convince her that taking the company to trial would cost Canadians jobs, and their party votes.

"I issued a stern warning because as the AG, I can not act in a manner and the prosecution can not act in a manner that is not objective, that isn't independent", she told the committee in her nearly four hours of testimony.

Anna Desmarais spoke to TRT World and says the involvement of the prime minister's office, in this case, could be seen as a conflict of interest.

"There will be a clear choice to be made between the Liberal Party, this government that. has consistently stood up for Canadian jobs, consistently defended Canadian jobs while defending our institutions and the independence of our judiciary", he said.

"The government likes to say, 'We were anxious about jobs.' What was clear from her [Wilson-Raybould's] statement was they were anxious about electoral concerns and a favoured company", said McLeod.



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