Resignations as SNC-Lavalin scandal rocks Trudeau government


The controversy erupted earlier this month when The Globe and Mail published a bombshell report alleging senior officials in the PMO had pressured Wilson-Raybould when she was attorney general to help the Quebec engineering giant avoid criminal prosecution.

The Sept. 4 decision date adds new information to the timeline of events - until now, it had appeared that Trudeau spoke with Wilson-Raybould before the prosecutor's decision not to proceed with the settlement negotiation.

Wilson-Raybould, who remains the Liberal MP for Vancouver-Granville and attended Wednesday's caucus meeting, told reporters she knows it is frustrating for many people that she has not commented further on her cabinet resignation.

February 19 - Wilson-Raybould stuns observers by attending a meeting of the very cabinet from which she resigned a week earlier. "I can assure all Canadians - that unlike the leader of the opposition - we will always stand up for good jobs right across this country every step of the way while making sure we respect the independence of the judicial system", Trudeau said.

Last week, Wilson-Raybould resigned as veterans-affairs minister.

"Privilege and confidentiality are not mine to waive and I hope that I have the opportunity to speak my truth".

"My ethical and professional responsibilities as a lawyer are layered and incredibly complicated so I am still working with my lawyer".

As part of these examinations, Trudeau said he welcomes Wilson Raybould testifying before the House Justice Committee.

The former attorney general herself abstained, telling the House of Commons she didn't think it appropriate to vote on a matter in which she was personally involved.

Here's the Commons' notice of today's House Justice Committee meeting being cancelled. Monday, Trudeau's principal secretary Gerald Butts left own his position while insisting he had not pressured the former attorney general.

Jody Wilson-Raybould wants to speak her truth, the question is whether Justin Trudeau will let her.

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Rankin called the committee's decision "a travesty".

The most serious political impasse this Liberal government has had to face may all come down to a difference of interpretation between a male political staffer and a female cabinet minister over what constitutes "undue pressure". "When she comes, she could quite properly say I suppose, based on legal advice, that I can tell you nothing because of solicitor-client privilege".

Court documents show the Director of Public Prosecutions told the engineering and construction giant last September 4 about its decision not to proceed with negotiations towards a remediation agreement to help SNC-Lavalin avoid bribery and fraud charges.

Trudeau has acknowledged there were conversations with her about the case, but that he told her the decision was hers to make, and she was not being directed to do anything.

Coming out of caucus Wednesday, Liberals tried to show a common front.

These comments came as she rose to formally register that she would be abstaining from two votes on an NDP motion that called for the government to launch an independent public inquiry into the scandal that broke almost two weeks ago.

"The prime minister has kept (Wilson-Raybould) silent in order to protect himself", Scheer alleged.

February 15 - Trudeau says Wilson-Raybould asked him in September whether he would direct her one way or another on the SNC-Lavalin question.

But the Liberal, who asked for anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation, said Trudeau side-stepped questions about why exactly Butts quit and did not give a detailed idea of what the government planned to do next.

"In the matter of solicitor-client privilege, the member opposite must know that there are real dangers of unintended consequences, particularly on the two court cases now wending their way through the courts", Trudeau said.

Conservative Senate leader Larry Smith brought the motion for the study Tuesday but was denied the chance to immediately debate it.