Wilson-Raybould resigns from cabinet


Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould quit on Tuesday amid news reports that she was pressured to go easy on a major firm previous year when she was justice minister, a development that deepened a political crisis for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just months ahead of an election. Because if anyone, particularly the attorney general, felt that we were not doing our job fully, responsibly and according to all the rules, as a government, it was her responsibility to come forward to me this past fall and highlight that directly to me.

In her resignation letter, she said she has retained the services of lawyer Thomas Cromwell, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, to advise her on "topics that I am legally permitted to discuss on this matter".

If Trudeau is willing to waive his solicitor-client privilege, as Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called for him to do yesterday, then this situation can be clarified and the necessary action can be taken to resolve it.

The prominent father of an Indigenous cabinet minister who resigned Tuesday unloaded on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an interview on CBC News.

"How the law treats individuals or corporations in our society is not, and should never be, incumbent upon the political pressure they can exert upon politicians", he said.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported last week that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or his staff pressured her to arrange a deal with SNC-Lavalin that would have let it avoid a criminal prosecution on allegations of corruption and bribery in relation to its efforts to win government contracts in Libya.

First, the prime minister said he didn't direct Wilson-Raybould to do anything untoward.

In the wake of that Cabinet shuffle, she released a statement saying that the justice system must "be free from even the perception of political interference and uphold the highest levels of public confidence".

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She's known Wilson-Raybould for seven years, since the MP served as regional chief for the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.

"I respect her view that, due to privilege, she can't comment or add on matters recently before the media".

"We welcome the ethics commissioner's investigation", the prime minister said following an event in Vancouver, Wilson-Raybould's hometown. For the time being at least, she remains a member of the Liberal caucus.

Trudeau was asked whether he will support the justice committee's study of the allegations but he wouldn't answer the question.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has already launched an investigation into Trudeau's handling of the SNC-Lavalin case.

"If Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government shut the justice committee's work down, it would send a risky signal to Canadians about the state of our democracy", Singh said in a statement.

"This make-believe cosmetic baloney that Trudeau's engaged in has proven itself now to be a farce", Bill Wilson told CBC host Vassy Kapelos.

SNC-Lavalin faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with almost $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.