Bill Kelly: SNC-Lavalin affair has Justin Trudeau on defence again

Daniel Fowler
February 12, 2019

Canada's former justice minister has quit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet amid allegations Trudeau's office pressured her to avoid prosecuting a major Canadian engineering firm.

"Her presence in cabinet should actually speak for itself", the prime minister had said Monday.

Trudeau also appeared to use the media availability to attempt to quell rumours of a rift between him and Wilson-Raybould, repeatedly referring to her as "Jody" and saying they've met twice since he arrived in B.C. on Sunday.

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"With a heavy heart, I am writing to tender my resignation as the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence", Wilson-Raybould wrote in her resignation letter, which she has made public.

Only hours before Trudeau's planned press conference on the West Coast, the NDP made the bombshell announcement that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion had accepted its request to investigate the allegations, first reported by The Globe and Mail last week.

The company faces corruption and fraud charges stemming from business activities.

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Since then, Trudeau has denied he did any such thing.

It's highly likely that the issue was discussed by the prime minister and senior cabinet members, but that's not unusual given the possible ramifications if SNC-Lavalin has the book thrown at it for influence peddling and bribery on foreign soil.

"Justin Trudeau promised Canadians he would change the way politics worked in Ottawa, but instead his Liberal government continues to prioritize helping insiders and the rich get ahead".

This renewed calls for the House of Commons Justice Committee to conduct a study on the matter.

For the details of Trudeau's involvement in tampering with the SNC-Lavalin case, however, all Scheer has to go on is an anonymously-sourced report in the Globe and Mail.

Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the justice portfolio last month, and is now the minister of veterans affairs, a move widely seen as a demotion.

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