Trudeau says he's surprised, puzzled by Wilson-Raybould's resignation

Then he said she had reconfirmed a conversation the pair had last fall in which he told her that the final decision in any federal prosecution was hers alone.

Some Indigenous leaders have been highly critical of Trudeau's decision to demote Wilson-Raybould and those criticisms escalated Tuesday.

In a hint that the situation could grow more complicated for Trudeau, Wilson-Raybould has retained former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell to advise her on how much she can say about the SNC-Lavalin case.

"It was a really positive step when Jody was appointed attorney general", said Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.

"The motion simply was you'll go to veterans affairs, It's lower on the totem pole so to speak, but the other thing was that you know there was a struggle to over where he would put the new rights portfolio and Jody rightfully wanted it in the Attorney General's office, Trudeau chose to give it to Carolyn Bennett, and it's died now, nothing's happened since that took place", said Wilson-Raybould's father.

The newspaper says Wilson-Raybould was shuffled to the veterans affairs portfolio in January when she refused to direct the public prosecutor to forge a remediation deal with the company that would effectively bypass criminal charges.

And he reiterated that Wilson-Raybould was right in maintaining her silence due to the client-attorney privilege: "I respect her view that, due to privilege, she can't comment or add on matters recently before the media".

The Liberals have been backsliding on their commitment to reconciliation for some time and Wilson-Raybould's resignation is just the latest manifestation, said Sheryl Lightfoot, a professor of political science, and First Nations and Indigenous studies, at UBC.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answered reporters' questions this afternoon in Winnipeg about Jody Wilson-Raybould's resignation from cabinet.

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Cabinet privilege prevented Wilson-Raybould, also the former minister of justice, from addressing the scandal.

I want to thank all Canadians, and in particular the residents of Vancouver-Granville, who put their trust in me and supported me as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and as the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.

The Liberals were already unlikely to win the Burnaby-South byelection coming February 25 after their candidate Karen Wang quit the race after making controversial remarks about the race of her opponent, Jagmeet Singh, he noted.

Since becoming prime minister, he has repeatedly stated that "no relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous peoples".

"She's done incredibly well on some very hard files", she said. "It doesn't help them that Wilson-Raybould's father (influential First Nations leader Bill Wilson) is calling them out on that failure".

Sen. Patrick Brazeau, who is an Algonquin from the Kitigan Zibi reserve near Maniwaki, Que., also weighed in on the day's news.

The matter isn't fated to lose any interest any time soon.

And on Monday the independent ethics commissioner launched an investigation - the second into a prime minister first elected in 2015 on a promise to clean up corruption, and with only eight months before the next ballot.

Liberal MP and committee chair Anthony Housefather has indicated that he will likely support an investigation.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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