In blow to Canadian PM Trudeau, second minister quits over scandal

She says the latest cabinet resignation by Jane Philpott has strengthened her belief in Wilson-Raybould's story.

Philpott was among Trudeau's most trusted cabinet ministers.

As the prime minister's RCMP detail moved in to calm things down, Trudeau hit some talking points about the lack of any climate plan from his opponents, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer's Conservatives. Philpott, who previously served as both Health and Indigenous Services minister, is shuffled to Treasury Board. 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". Singh calls for a public inquiry into the scandal. "There will be more to say in the coming days and weeks as we continue to reflect on next steps".

Trudeau's defense strategy appears to depend on carefully chipping away at Wilson-Raybould's credibility without flatly accusing her of lying, a strategy that will presumably widen to include Philpott as well. Indeed, when Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet, Philpott tweeted a picture of the pair with their arms around each other. And now I'm hearing from all sides, including from liberals here, that Trudeau's brand is seriously damaged.

Does Justin Trudeau have a problem with women? So Trudeau for all of those factors and his officials decided that an extra effort, perhaps, an unprecedented effort at least in the eyes of the former Attorney General Ms Wilson-Raybould was undertaken to save those jobs; to be very specific, if they are criminally convicted in Canada under our current legislation they would be banned from working on federal projects, government of Canada projects in Canada for the next 10 years.

The firm employs close to 9,000 employees across Canada, according to SNC-Lavlin's website.

SNC-Lavalin faces charges of fraud and bribery related to its work in Libya.

The controversy surrounding corrupt dealings by SNC-Lavalin has received extensive coverage in the Quebec media since 2012. The controversy hinges on whether Trudeau and his officials pushed her too hard to do so.

Wilson-Raybould said senior government officials, mostly from Trudeau's office, pressured her to order prosecutors to cut a plea deal with SNC-Lavalin, which is based in Montreal in the politically important province of Quebec.

Cameras follow Jody Wilson Raybould as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa
ASSOCIATED PRESSCameras follow Jody Wilson Raybould as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa on Wednesday

"The solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system".

The next round of testimony on the affair is to come Wednesday. "There can be a cost to acting on one's principles, but there is a bigger cost to abandoning them". Speaking in Longueuil, Que., on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the prime minister has her confidence, adding she appreciates the prime minister sees her family - she has three children - as an advantage rather than an problem.

Trudeau has not denied that he and aides spoke to Wilson-Raybould about the SNC-Lavalin case, the Guardian reports, but claims their discussions were within the bounds of the rules.

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.

Philpott has been widely seen as one of Trudeau's most capable ministers.

Both former ministers worked closely together on some of Trudeau's signature achievements, including the legalization of medical marijuana and, before that, right-to-die legislation. She said keeping her position would require her to publicly defend the government and its policies, which she could no longer do. Philpott took over the post from Scott Brison, who retired from politics.

"In a democracy such as ours, and in a place where we value our diversity so strongly, we are allowed to have disagreement and debate, we even encourage it", the prime minister said. "Thank you ↕janephilpott for articulating this beautifully", Caesar-Chavannes wrote.

What is the SNC-Lavalin affair?

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