Trudeau pushes back on SNC-Lavalin, says he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by Wilson-Raybould’s resignation

CBC News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Jody Wilson-Raybould James Alexander Michie

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Jody Wilson-Raybould attend a swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa last month. Wilson-Raybould, the former justice minister, announced on Tuesday she is quitting the federal cabinet. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

If former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould felt she was being pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office to help Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution, she had an obligation to bring those concerns up with the prime minister, Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Winnipeg, Trudeau said that he was “surprised and disappointed” by Wilson-Raybould’s decision to step down.

“This resignation is not consistent with conversations I had with Jody weeks ago when I asked her to serve as Canada’s minister for veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence. Nor is it consistent with the conversations we’ve had lately,” said Trudeau, who referred to the former minister by her first name several times.

“In regards to the matter of SNC-Lavalin, let me be direct: the government of Canada did its job and to the clear public standards expected of it. If anybody felt differently, they had an obligation to raise that with me. No one, including Jody, did that.”

Wilson-Raybould — who has kept largely silent since a news report claimed the PMO pressured her to help Quebec-based multinational engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution — announced she was quitting the Liberal cabinet this morning.

Her resignation could trigger another cabinet shuffle and is likely to cast a long shadow over the upcoming election campaign.

Trudeau said that he’s consulting with Canada’s new attorney general, David Lametti, on whether, and to what degree, he can waive attorney-client privilege and reveal details of his conversations with Wilson-Raybould on the SNC-Lavalin case.

The prime minister warned, however, that his ability to comment might be limited by the fact that there are ongoing court proceedings involving the Quebec company.

Trudeau reiterates commitment to Indigenous reconciliation

Trudeau tried to reassure Indigenous Canadians that, despite the resignation of the only Indigenous member of cabinet, the Indigenous reconciliation effort remains a priority for his government — and that he’ll get his feedback on the file from Canadians across the country.

“Our government’s commitment to reconciliation is larger than any one person, and we will work closely with Indigenous partners as we walk this path together,” he said.

Read more.

Source: Catharine Tunney, Peter Zimonjic | CBC News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *