HIGHLIGHTS: Justin Trudeau responds to SNC-Lavalin testimonies

HIGHLIGHTS: Justin Trudeau responds to SNC-Lavalin testimonies

HIGHLIGHTS: Justin Trudeau responds to SNC-Lavalin testimonies

On Thursday, Trudeau addressed the accusations of backroom brokering and bullying that have been dogging his government, saying he has learned "lessons" from the crisis but denying any wrongdoing.

Last week, Wilson-Raybould told the House of Commons justice committee that she was relentlessly and inappropriately pressured last fall by Trudeau, his senior staff, the top public servant and others to intervene to stop a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

Trudeau was expected to strike a conciliatory tone but at times sounded defensive.

"Indeed, I expect them to do so", he said. "There wasn't a real acceptance of responsibility".

The lone Northwestern Ontario representative in the Trudeau cabinet believes the prime minister is disappointed that he was unaware of the breakdown in trust between the former attorney general and one of his most trusted staffers.

Wilson-Raybould could have found additional ways to address problems Indigenous people face, said Bear.

"There was no inappropriate pressure", hit back Trudeau, who stood by his previous claim he made clear to Wilson-Raybould any decision was hers alone. "We heard a different perspective yesterday (from Butts)".

"But Chrystia Freeland was able to articulate some fairly forward thinking and positive and powerful thoughts that maybe the more conservative thinking PMO office wouldn't necessarily support", she said.

"But", he said, "this comment was not partisan in nature".

Trudeau blamed the crisis on an "erosion of trust" between his office and the cabinet.

"It gives me an incredible pleasure for me to be here today to introduce to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada", he said as his newly minted minister stood behind him. "As we now learn. that was not the case", Mr Trudeau said.

But whether his government will be strengthened - or whether it can recover - is very much an open question.

The roots of the controversy date to 2015, when Canadian authorities charged Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin with using bribes to secure business deals in Moammar Gaddafi-era Libya.

SNC-Lavalin has a lost a court bid to have the public prosecutor overturn its refusal to negotiate an agreement that would see the company avoid a criminal trial.

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Greenpeace said the 30 per cent target was too low, especially with problems in the nuclear industry. But Greenpeace said that renewables needed to be scaled up even more.

Remediation agreements are a new legal tool in corporate-corruption cases that force a company to pay stiff restitution but avoid the risk of a criminal conviction that could threaten its financial viability and hurt innocent employees, shareholders and suppliers.

Wilson-Raybould decided not to do so and eventually resigned from cabinet.

This after the Globe and Mail reported February 7 that she had been improperly lobbied by the Prime Minister's Office to drop the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on foreign bribery charges.

Trudeau responded to the Globe report by telling the news media that his government did not "direct" her on the matter.

Manitoba Metis Federation President David Chartrand said it was hypocritical for Wilson-Raybould to turn down the Indigenous Services position because the Justice Department is responsible for the "choke hold" on First Nations, Metis and Inuit rights.

Mr Trudeau's former chief aide Gerald Butts denied that in testimony to a parliamentary committee yesterday.

It did not work.

Trudeau's inner circle is accused of pressuring his former attorney general to shield Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin from a bribery trial.

The departure of Philpott, another well-regarded minister and a close friend of Wilson-Raybould, has dented Trudeau's credibility.

On Wednesday, Butts offered testimony of his own.

"The good news is that Jody Wilson-Raybould has had a chance to put out her perspective", she said.

But the government may not have fully prepared for the differences of opinion that might come as a result of that diversity, says Vicky Mochama, journalist and the co-host of the podcast Safe Space.

Political analysts say Trudeau is safe for now, since he has made clear he wants to stay on and there are no challengers inside the party.

Then he was off to catch a flight to his next engagement: an official apology over a historical injustice.

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