Trudeau says he's surprised and disappointed by Wilson-Raybould's resignation

13 February, 2019, 04:44 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • Trudeau in ethics probe over handling of Libyan contract fraud

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.

"This resignation is not consistent with conversations I had with Jody weeks ago when I asked her to serve as Canada's minister for Veterans Affairs and associate minister of National Defence. I am in the process of obtaining advice on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in this matter, and as such, have retained the Honourable Thomas Albert Cromwell, CC as counsel".

In Fredericton, N.B., Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Wilson-Raybould's resignation proves there's more to the SNC-Lavalin story than Trudeau has been letting on.

Jody Wilson-Raybould is out of Justin Trudeau's cabinet.

"I'm ashamed of what the prime minister has done to my daughter", Wilson said.

"How the law treats individuals or corporations in our society is not, and should never be, incumbent upon the political pressure they can exert upon politicians", he said.

Trudeau told reporters that Jody Wilson-Raybould had not raised any concerns with him about how Ottawa was handling the case of construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, which is seeking to avoid a corruption trial because the executives accused of wrongdoing have left the company and it has overhauled ethics and compliance systems.

When Wilson-Raybould refused to ask federal prosecutors to make the non-prosecution deal with SNC-Lavalin in December, according to the Globe and Mail, Trudeau essentially fired her, leaving her to wash up at Veterans Affairs, a significant demotion.

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Shortly before her resignation announcement, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs issued an open letter to Trudeau demanding that he publicly condemn "the racist and sexist innuendo" that's circulated about Wilson-Raybould since her demotion, suggesting that she's hard to work with and not a team player.

She responded by quitting cabinet.

"Many Canadians, including Indigenous Canadians, rightfully have questions, and that's why we are working hard on answering them, as I am doing today, highlighting that for folks who are puzzled by Ms. Wilson-Raybould's decision to step down, they can add me to the list, because I am surprised and disappointed".

The Conservatives have taken to tweeting out the Liberal committee members' contact information, in a bid to have members of the public exert pressure on them. Instead he said it was for the Liberal-dominated committee to decide.

"Obviously Justin Trudeau's trying to hide something", Scheer said.

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.

A justice committee is to meet Wednesday and in the meantime, the Office of the Ethics Commissioner has indicated it will conduct an investigation into matters that fall "within their jurisdiction", said Goodale. SNC-Lavalin is facing charges of bribery and fraud.

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