Canada: Justin Trudeau scandal prompts further minister to quit

Canada: Justin Trudeau scandal prompts further minister to quit

Canada: Justin Trudeau scandal prompts further minister to quit

In a serious blow to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a second member of his Cabinet resigned on Monday, saying she had lost confidence in how the government had dealt with an escalating political scandal.

The treasury board president Jane Philpott announced her resignation as the Liberal government's crisis over the SNC-Lavalin affair deepens.

The solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system ...

"After serious reflection, I have concluded that I must resign as a member of Cabinet", Ms Philpott wrote in her resignation letter.

Given that convention, Philpott said, "it is untenable for me to continue to serve as a cabinet minister".

"But I will say this inquiry is not complete and I can imagine a situation where if it winds up in one place, I'll be very happy to run again, and if it winds up in another place, I might well find myself as a lawyer again instead".

Rather, he adopted a more conciliatory tone that appeared to allow for the possibility that a line may have been crossed.

"The lads are better at that sort of thing", she said.

"I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion", Wilson-Raybould testified before a parliamentary committee at the end of February, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Philpott's resignation was not entirely unexpected among Liberals, who knew she and Wilson-Raybould are close friends.

Last week, the opposition called for Trudeau's resignation and for launching a federal investigation to look into Wilson-Raybould's claims. Two weeks later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau names Jody Wilson-Raybould minister of justice and attorney general of Canada. However, he noted that he understands why Philpott has left. He has said he totally disagrees with Wilson-Raybould's characterization of events.

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.

Wernick, who previously testified that he believes no one improperly pressured Wilson-Raybould, is expected to address that accusation Wednesday.

In the Canadian political system, party leaders are elected at formal conventions and can not be deposed by a simple vote of legislators, which means any move to push out Trudeau would take a long time.

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. She was appointed to the powerful budget position in January. Treasury Board is a less-visible ministry concerned with the nuts and bolts of government operations but the president effectively holds the government's purse strings, overseeing all federal spending. I think it's to prove a point - that this is their party as much as Trudeau's, and they shouldn't have to leave just because he screwed up.

Trudeau says he's spoken to Wilson-Raybould and confirmed with her that he said any decision on the SNC-Lavalin prosecution was entirely hers.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes, a Liberal legislator who is not seeking re-election, tweeted that "when you add women, please do not expect the status quo. Expect us to make correct decisions, stand for what is right and exit when values are compromised".

Butts resigned from Trudeau's office last month, insisting neither he nor anyone else in the Prime Minister's Office had done anything wrong but saying he didn't want to be a distraction from the government's work.

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