Canadian minister quits as political crisis deepens for Trudeau

Canadian minister quits as political crisis deepens for Trudeau

Jody Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from the Liberal cabinet Tuesday, has cited the privilege as the reason she can not speak publicly about discussions with the prime minister's inner circle on the fate of criminal charges against construction and engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

At the time she was federal justice minister and attorney general.

Housefather says he believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he says nobody from his office pressured Wilson-Raybould but he also believes more clarity is needed to explain exactly what went on.

In her resignation letter on Tuesday, she didn't specify the nature of her disagreement with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Wilson-Raybould has a lot of clout and knowledge about First Nations communities, North said.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday February 7, 2019 in Ottawa.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported last week that Trudeau or his staff pressured her to arrange a deal with Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin that would let it avoid criminal prosecution on allegations of corruption involving government contracts in Libya.

Her exit came less than 24 hours after Trudeau said he had "full confidence" in her and suggested she would have resigned from cabinet on principle if she had felt anyone had tried to improperly pressure her.

However, he didn't explicitly deny that any pressure was put on Wilson-Raybould.

First, the prime minister said he didn't direct Wilson-Raybould to do anything untoward. In recent days, Liberal operatives have attempted to smear Wilson-Raybould's performance even though she was widely seen as a credible and competent Minister throughout her tenure.

"I will highlight however that there's a real danger, and it's been flagged for me, of unintended consequences, particularly because there are two court cases ongoing directly related to this matter that could be impacted by such a decision we might make".

"I've been in discussion, ever since this meeting was called, with Liberal committee members".

Liberal MP and justice committee chair Anthony Housefather told CBC's Power and Politics that he is "in favour" of studying the allegations.

They are pushing to have some of Mr Trudeau's top aides and a number of Liberal MPs appear before Parliament's justice committee. Instead he said it was for the Liberal-dominated committee to decide.

"This make-believe cosmetic baloney that Trudeau's engaged in has proven itself now to be a farce", Bill Wilson told CBC host Vassy Kapelos.

Wilson-Raybould's resignation is likely to haunt the Liberals during the election campaign - as will a recently-launched probe by the federal ethics commissioner.

In 2017, Trudeau apologized after the office of the ethics commissioner said he had broken conflict-of-interest laws by accepting a vacation on a Bahamas island owned by the Aga Khan, an Ismaili religious leader.

SNC-Lavalin faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with almost $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.

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