Jane Philpott: Trudeau crisis grows as minister resigns

10:24pm
 
Image Credit Green Party of Canada

10:24pm Image Credit Green Party of Canada

In a tweet she said had lost confidence in the government's handling of an inquiry into allegations that officials linked to Trudeau had pressured a former minister to help Quebec-based construction company SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

Mr Trudeau has acknowledged raising the issue with Ms Wilson-Raybould, but has said that was appropriate. His most immediate problem is that while Philpott and Wilson-Raybould have both resigned from cabinet, they haven't resigned from the Liberal party or the government caucus.

It all leaves Trudeau without two of the highest-profile women in his famously gender-balanced cabinet. Amid the current scandal, however, he faces weakening party solidarity and sagging poll numbers. Treasury Board President is a role typically held by a more senior minister. Instead, she said she couldn't back the government because of the SNC controversy.

Philpott expressed unhappiness about the government's response to allegations that officials inappropriately pressured former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould previous year to help major construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc avoid a corruption trial.

There's a gendered thread to the defections.

"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 told a parliamentary committee on February 27.

The Markham-Stouffville MP indicated that she will continue to serve as a Liberal MP. Trudeau then removed her as attorney-general. "You are a leader of vision & strength & I look forward to continuing to work alongside you", Wilson-Raybould tweeted.

Caesar-Chavannes - a one-time parliamentary secretary to Trudeau - also celebrated the move. Making a real difference to a country that needs your support. Freeland, who led negotiations over the revamped North American free-trade deal, has so far stood by the prime minister.

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SNC-Lavalin said it would be unfair to penalise the company as a whole and its thousands of employees for the wrongdoing of former executives.

Trudeau indicated Monday he was still weighing whether to force Wilson-Raybould out. But Philpott clearly believes her, and doesn't believe him.

But we are relying entirely on the former justice minister's testimony for much of the narrative that has been accepted as gospel by so many Canadians - some of which came to her second-hand from her former chief of staff, Jessica Prince.

Gerald Butts, who quit as Trudeau's principal secretary last month over the SNC-Lavalin affair, will testify to the House of Commons justice committee from 10 a.m. (15:00 GMT) to noon (17:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

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Opposition Conservatives last week called on the Liberal PM to resign. He later signalled that Philpott's departure had been simmering for a while.

But Philpott is a former family physician who lost a child while working in Niger - she knows real life and death issues, and resigning from cabinet is not that. She was appointed to the powerful budget position in January. "We're allowed to have disagreements and debate".

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