Gerald Butts scheduled to speak on SNC-Lavalin case Wednesday morning
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Mar 07, 2019,
Mar 07, 2019, 0:38
A former health minister and Indigenous-services minister who was president of the federal Treasury Board when she quit the cabinet, Philpott was widely seen as one of Trudeau's most capable ministers. As Mercedes Stephenson explains, Philpott's resignation letter clearly spells out it's because she can no longer toe the line about the SNC-Lavalin affair.
In her testimony, the former justice minister and attorney-general provided extensive information to back her charge that she had been subjected to "consistent and sustained" government pressure to overrule the Public Prosecution Service and offer SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement.
And there may be more twists to come this week when Gerald Butts, who resigned as Trudeau's principal secretary February 18, appears before the federal justice committee to tell his own side of the story.
Trudeau has acknowledged raising the issue with Wilson-Raybould, but has said that was appropriate.
"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.
"Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised", she wrote.
The committee is also scheduled to hear a second time from the top public servant, Michael Wernick, and the deputy minister of justice, Nathalie Drouin, both of whom figured prominently in former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould's explosive testimony last week. I must abide by more core values, my ethical responsibilities, constitutional obligations.
I still believe that after Wilson-Raybould was demoted (but before she testified), it was Trudeau's intention to give the Montreal engineering and construction firm a "remediation agreement" that would have spared it a criminal prosecution and a possible 10-year ban from bidding on federal contracts.
The Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville announced her decision over social media today.
Liberal backbencher Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who announced last week she won't seek re-election, tweeted her support Monday for Philpott, as she has done repeatedly for Wilson-Raybould since the SNC-Lavalin controversy erupted a month ago.
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Wilson-Raybould who was moved to the veterans affairs portfolio, resigned from cabinet less than a week after the reports about political interference surfaced. When asked why he was pushing the 50-50 number in 2015, Trudeau said, "Because it's 2015".
Conservative leader of the Official Opposition Andrew Scheer has demanded that Justin Trudeau resign as prime minister.
As attorney general, Wilson-Raybould could legally have instructed the director of public prosecutions to negotiate one with SNC-Lavalin. Philpott's resignation kills that scheme dead in its tracks.
When Butts resigned, Trudeau accepted his decision and said he had served the country with "integrity, sage advice and devotion".
The SNC-Lavalin affair is particularly damaging for Trudeau and his government because it cuts across the image they have sought to project, with the aim of providing a "progressive" smokescreen for their pursuit of the ruling class's agenda of austerity at home and aggression and war overseas.
Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould at a press conference in 2016.
March 2 - Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she will not be seeking re-election in October in her riding of Whitby, Ont. Caesar-Chavannes says her decision is not related to the SNC Lavalin controversy, although she adds she has "tremendous respect" for Wilson-Raybould. I think he'll continue to make the argument that, "Look, I was standing up for jobs and this is fair and right, and besides that no decision was actually made to change the course of the legal actions that are pending on SNC-Lavalin".
February 13 - The House of Commons justice committee debates whether it should start its own review into the SNC-Lavalin affair.
When he was first elected as Canada's prime minister in 2015, Justin Trudeau promised openness, accountability and transparency in politics.