Canada’s former attorney general claims Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pressured her to go easy on an engineering firm charged with bribery. The scandal has rocked Trudeau’s government ahead of elections in October.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expelled Jody Wilson-Raybould, a former justice minister and attorney general, from the ruling Liberal party on Tuesday.
Wilson-Raybould had accused Trudeau of pressuring her to go easy on SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian engineering firm accused of bribery, while she was justice minister.
What you need to know:
- Wilson-Raybould and former Treasury Board chief Jane Philpott were expelled from the Liberal Party. Philpott had resigned from her post to protest Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
- Trudeau said both politicians had “repeatedly expressed a lack of confidence in our government and in me personally as a leader.”
- He also cited Wilson-Raybould’s “unconscionable” decision to secretly record her conversation with Michael Wernick, a former top civil servant, for the move.
Wilson-Raybould said after the announcement that she has “no regrets.”
“I spoke the truth and I will continue to do so,” she said in a post on her Twitter account.
In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Philpott said the decision to oust her from the party “was made without me being provided any opportunity to speak to national caucus.”
“This is profoundly disheartening for me, my staff and my family,” Philpott said. “I ran to be a Member of Parliament for the purpose of improving people’s lives. Nothing will stop me from continuing that pursuit.”
What is the scandal about?
On February 7, Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper reported that Trudeau’s staff had put pressure on Wilson-Raybould to enter a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin. The company was charged in 2015 after it allegedly bribed officials to win contracts in Libya. A criminal conviction would have prevented the engineering giant from receiving any federal government business and put 9,000 Canadian jobs at risk.
On March 29, Wilson-Raybould published a secret recording of a conversation between her and Wernick, the Clerk of the Privy Council, who told Wilson-Raybould that Trudeau “is determined, quite firm” in finding a way to avoid prosecuting SNC-Lavalin.
Who is Jody Wilson-Raybould? She is a member of Canadian Parliament and the first indigenous Canadian to become the nation’s justice minister and attorney general. She resigned from Trudeau’s cabinet less than a week after The Globe and Mail report.
Trudeau in trouble: Support for the prime minister’s Liberal Party is down to 30 percent, 10 percentage points behind the opposition Conservative Party, according to Ipsos, a polling firm. Canada is set to hold elections on October 21.
dv/amp (AP, Reuters)