Goodale in hot seat over Wilson-Raybould cabinet resignation

13 February, 2019, 02:37 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Ethics commissioner to probe Prime Minister's Office over SNC-Lavalin scandal

Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans minister for only 29 days after she was demoted from justice minister in a cabinet shuffle sparked by Scott Brison's retirement last month.

But in a letter to the prime minister announcing her resignation on Tuesday, Ms Wilson-Raybould said that she is "aware that many Canadians wish for me to speak on matters that have been in the media over the last week".

Wilson-Raybould's letter does not say exactly why she's quitting.

The PM allegedly pressured former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to curtail the criminal prosecution of a multi-million-dollar corruption and fraud case against SNC-Lavalin, redirecting the matter out of the courts and into a "remediation agreement", which would have spared the company the negative financial and reputational consequences of a criminal trial - the most devastating of which would include a 10-year ban from accepting government contracts, a stipulation which would economically cripple the Montreal engineering firm. I am in the process of obtaining advice on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in this matter and as such, have retained the Honourable Thomas Albert Cromwell, CC as counsel.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday February 7, 2019 in Ottawa.

A spokesperson for MP Francis Scarpaleggia, chair of the national Liberal caucus, said that as of Tuesday morning, Wilson-Raybould hadn't left caucus.

"Yesterday, he said that her presence (in cabinet) speaks for itself".

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On Monday, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion informed the NDP MPs who had requested an investigation that there is sufficient cause to proceed with an inquiry into Trudeau's actions in the case.

"Now more than ever, it is imperative that the Liberal government support the work of the justice committee that will be looking into whether there was illegal interference with the independent exercise of the former attorney general's responsibilities", Singh said in a statement.

Wilson-Raybould says a lot of thank-yous but at no point does she actually explain why she is resigning.

"Justin Trudeau promised Canadians he would change the way politics worked in Ottawa, but instead his Liberal government continues to prioritize helping insiders and the rich get ahead".

That section prohibits any official responsible for high-level decision-making in government from seeking to influence the decision of another person so as to "improperly further another person's private interests".

SNC-Lavalin faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with almost $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.

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