Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Jane Philpott: Trudeau crisis grows as minister resigns

Jane Philpott: Trudeau crisis grows as minister resigns

Jane Philpott, the treasury secretary, announced her resignation on Monday, days after former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould testified that government officials inappropriately pressured her to help a Canadian engineering company avoid a corruption trial.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's former right-hand man, Gerald Butts, who resigned on February 18, is also set to testify before the justice committee on matters pertaining to SNC-Lavalin on Wednesday.

"There are a number of people who are incredibly anxious we are going to lose the progress we have made; and we are going to see a government led by an individual who has coddled Yellow Vesters; and who has really cultivated support from groups and organizations that he should be shunning and pushing away", Erskine-Smith said. For now, it's nearly like Wilson-Raybould is daring him to kick her out of caucus.

"I want to thank her for her service", Trudeau said. The consequent speech was interrupted again by more heckling and a minor fistfight in the audience, to which the prime minister reacted by saying: "Oh boy, oh boy". According to an op-ed written by Christie Blatchford for Canada's National Post newspaper, "Women were invited to Trudeau's cabinet table, but expected to play by old boys' rules".

"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. He did not state the specific reason for Philpott's resignation.

October 9 - The prosecution service confirms in writing it will not invite SNC-Lavalin to negotiate a remediation agreement, a decision the company challenges in Federal Court.

March 1 - Trudeau makes longtime MP Lawrence MacAulay his new veterans-affairs minister as part of a minor cabinet shuffle. "I have concluded that I must resign as a member of cabinet".

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer repeated his call for Trudeau to step down on Monday.

"I am deeply troubled by the fact that Ms. Philpott felt the need to resign as a result of our government's handling of this matter", he said in the release.

Mr Trudeau promoted himself as a feminist when he became Prime Minister in 2015.

Especially damaging was Wilson-Raybould's claims that the government was concerned about the impact its failure to intervene in support of SNC-Lavalin would have on Liberal fortunes in the federal election due this fall.

"Then don't delay on climate, don't be a climate delayer", came a voice from the crowd as Trudeau moved on to the subject at hand.

However both Philpott and former Minster of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould have said they still intend to run as Liberals in the upcoming election. So I think that's the public relations problem the prime minister now has, trying to explain how the two can not coexist equally, when Ms Wilson-Raybould, who proved to be a very credible witness when she appeared before the Canadian Justice Committee, made the points that she did. Wilson-Raybould's replacement as attorney-general has said he is reviewing the file and will make a fresh determination.

Also on the speakers list: Former deputy finance minister David Dodge, Mulroney's former foreign affairs minister Barbara McDougall, former Canadian ambassador to the United States Derek Burney, former Privy Council Clerk Wayne Wouters, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May - who, as the advisory notes, served as a policy advisor to Mulroney's environment minister - and Mulroney's former executive assistant Bill Pristanski, who is now listed as a registered lobbyist for SNC-Lavalin.

In her testimony to the committee last week, Wilson-Raybould singled out Butts as one official who tried particularly hard to change her mind.

The MP says she will continue her role as an MP for Markham-Stouffville.

Why are they remaining in the Liberal tent?

Wilson-Raybould resisted the pressure, and quit the Cabinet last month.

But Philpott has made her decision.

But another senior Liberal Party member said there was growing unhappiness among legislators about how Trudeau's team had handled the SNC-Lavalin matter and that the prime minister needed to replace some of his staff.

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