Trudeau's Regina events cancelled: PMO

Minister Ralph Goodale responds to SNC Lavalin scandal

Minister Ralph Goodale responds to SNC Lavalin scandal

Testifying before the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday, Butts rebutted accusations made by former Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould, whose abrupt resignation last month touched off the crisis.

A leading Cabinet minister in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Prime Minister Trudeau's government resigned Monday, becoming the second minister to step down over a scandal that has shaken the government in an election year.

Justin Trudeau's government never directed Canada's attorney general to intervene in a Quebec construction company's legal case but did suggest she seek an outside opinion on the matter, a former top aide said.

Treasury Board president Jane Philpott, considered a star minister, said in a resignation letter that it was "untenable" for her to continue in the Cabinet because she lost confidence and could not defend the government.

Gerry Butts told the House justice committee Wednesday that the former attorney general only raised the issue of the DPA with him once before the shuffle - at the tail-end of a dinner at the Château Laurier hotel - and never framed the overtures of PMO or Privy Council Office staff on the issue as inappropriate.

A conviction against SNC-Lavalin could result in the company being barred from bidding on federal contracts for a decade, potentially endangering as many as 9,000 jobs.

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Butts said he regrets that Wilson-Raybould's trust and faith in her colleagues have eroded, but all the officials named in Wilson-Raybould's testimony have done nothing wrong.

The University of Ottawa law professor said: "The details she offered, and the fact that there were written communications, seem to offer clear evidence that several people tried to pressure her and influence her decision, which is improper, in order to further SNC-Lavalin's private interest of not being prosecuted".

Trudeau has denied any wrongdoing in connection to Wilson-Raybould's investigation or her demotion. "My advice was that the prime minister should not set the precedent that a Cabinet minister could refuse a new position and effectively remain in one position for the life of the government".

"The attempt by the cabinet to highlight a personal relationship as an explanation as to why the cabinet minister resigned is completely false", Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt said in an interview. The event has been postponed to a later date, the Liberals said on Tuesday morning.

"Previous prime ministers benefited from experience and seniority, or respect, or fear, or just the feeling that they knew the way better than anybody else. I think it's shocking to a lot of Canadians to see inside how cabinet and the (Prime Minister's Office) works", Rusnak told CKPR Radio.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said after hearing Butts' testimony she still believes Wilson-Raybould's version of events, though noted that Butts may not have given certain interactions the same magnitude Wilson-Raybould had.

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