Trudeau lauds Philpott after minister resigns over SNC affair

07 March, 2019, 06:00 | Author: Donnie King
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The former family physician has held key portfolios in Mr Trudeau's cabinet - health, indigenous services and, until this week, treasury board president - since being elected in 2015.

October 10 - SNC-Lavalin issues a news release saying it strongly disagrees with the director of prosecutions' position and remains open and committed to negotiating a remediation agreement. Trudeau asked after taking to the podium, adjusting the microphone to his height and making sure the auto-prompter was working.

In her explosive testimony last week, Wilson-Raybould said a provincial election in Quebec, Trudeau's status as a Quebec MP, and the looming general election all surfaced in conversations on the issue that continued after a decision was made. Wilson-Raybould testified under oath that nothing illegal had transpired in the multiple attempts to get her to bring in an outside expert to examine the DPA as an alternative to criminal action.

In announcing her decision, Philpott cited accusations that Trudeau and his aides had exerted improper and excessive pressure on the justice minister and attorney general at the time, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to seek a settlement in the criminal case against the company, SNC-Lavalin.

March 4 - Philpott, one of Justin Trudeau's most trusted ministers, announces her resignation from cabinet.

The departure of Philpott, who was appointed on January 14, is another setback for a prime minister who came to power in November 2015 promising "sunny ways", more accountability in politics and a greater number of women ministers.

It appears Trudeau has been waiting for Butts to do the heavy lifting of directly contradicting Wilson-Raybould's version of events before weighing in more fully himself.

But to lose another senior cabinet minister - another senior female minister - makes the damage exponentially worse.

"In the case of Wilson-Raybould, I think she's just taken a stand on the ethics of it, which is admirable in some ways".

Wilson-Raybould said the same last week but declined to say she had confidence in Trudeau.

Certainly Wilson-Raybould's replacement as Attorney General, Montreal MP and law professor David Lametti, gave every indication he was angling towards a plea deal.

Carolyn Bennett, the minister in charge of relations with the aboriginal population, said in a statement that "I have absolute confidence in our government, and our Prime Minister".

February 21 - Wernick launches a vigorous defence of the government's handling of the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, bluntly declaring allegations of political interference to be false and even defamatory. Earlier in the day, before Philpott's exit, he said he was still reflecting on Wilson-Raybould's future in the party.

As Mercedes Stephenson explains, Philpott's resignation letter clearly spells out it's because she can no longer toe the line about the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Without evidence of wrongdoing for personal benefit by the prime minister, it is hard to see why Scheer would expect Trudeau to resign.

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. The motion was easily defeated by the Liberal majority in the House of Commons.

"It's clear Canadians need a public inquiry now more than ever", Singh said.

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.

The woman continued to shout until the Liberal supporters around clapped and cheered to drown out her voice.

February 12 - Wilson-Raybould resigns as Veterans Affairs minister and says she's hired former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell to advise her on the limits of solicitor-client privilege. Marie-Claude Bibeau replaces MacAulay as agriculture minister and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef takes on the additional portfolio of worldwide development. He is once again without a president of Treasury Board.


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