Canada's Liberal government on ropes after third high-profile resignation

Canada's Liberal government on ropes after third high-profile resignation

Philpott expressed unhappiness about the government's response to allegations that officials inappropriately pressured former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in 21018 to help the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc avoid a corruption trial. On March 4 her colleague Jane Philpott also resigned, saying, "I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter", in reference to political pressure brought on the AG and expressing her unwillingness to maintain cabinet solidarity.

Philpott said evidence of efforts by politicians and officials to pressure Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case had raised serious concerns.

Both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, who was a doctor before entering politics in 2015, were recruited by Trudeau to enter politics in the 2015 election.

Trudeau thanked Philpott for her service in a short statement that said he would have more to say later in Toronto.

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. Both women were star candidates for the Liberals during the 2015 election and their initial appointment to prestigious cabinet posts was emblematic of Trudeau's commitment to gender equality.

"It is a huge privilege for me to serve in this government, to serve as foreign minister for Canada", she said. "How democratic institutions, specifically the federal ministry and the staff and officials that support it, conduct themselves is critical and core to all of our principles", Trudeau said. Scott Brison left in January for personal reasons, opening the door to the shuffle that sent Ms. Philpott to Treasury Board and that demoted Ms. Wilson-Raybould to Veterans Affairs.

SNC-Lavalin, the company in question, is a major Canadian business headquartered in Quebec, though it should be noted that only about 15% of its business is actually still in Canada.

After a series of departures and criticism from within his own cabinet and caucus, perhaps no one could blame the prime minister for being skeptical about whether he was facing a friendly crowd.

"O$3 ur work with the federal government is ongoing", Obed said, and I look forward to forming an effective relationship with her successor at Treasury Board".

Cameras follow Jody Wilson Raybould as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa
ASSOCIATED PRESSCameras follow Jody Wilson Raybould as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa on Wednesday

Wilson-Raybould said she had confronted Trudeau in September over what she said were persistent efforts by officials to help SNC-Lavalin evade trial on charges of bribing Libyan officials.

He denies any impropriety but says his continued presence in the Prime Minister's Office has become a distraction. He also pledged to "take concerns over SNC-Lavalin affairs very seriously". If she succeeded in removing Robbie Burns, she would have been fired.

How did Trudeau react to resignations and the scandal?

In her testimony, the former justice minister and attorney-general provided extensive information to back her charge that she had been subjected to "consistent and sustained" government pressure to overrule the Public Prosecution Service and offer SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement.

Trudeau, the son of 16-year former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, has a lot going for him: Canada has the lowest levels of unemployment in 40 years, the fastest growing wages in a decade and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among the G7 nations. But unlike Wilson-Raybould, she did not say whether she intends to run for re-election as a Liberal this fall, although she has already been nominated.

Two Liberal legislators voted with the opposition last week in a failed bid to launch a public inquiry, while a female Liberal member of parliament tweeted her support for Wilson-Raybould, adding the hash tag #IStandWithHer.

Jane Philpott announced on Monday that she would be stepping down from the position, following last week's testimony by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould before the House of Commons justice committee.

Also on the speakers list: Former deputy finance minister David Dodge, Mulroney's former foreign affairs minister Barbara McDougall, former Canadian ambassador to the United States Derek Burney, former Privy Council Clerk Wayne Wouters, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May - who, as the advisory notes, served as a policy advisor to Mulroney's environment minister - and Mulroney's former executive assistant Bill Pristanski, who is now listed as a registered lobbyist for SNC-Lavalin.

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