Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Business | By Pearl Harrison

Wilson-Raybould resignation from cabinet long overdue

Wilson-Raybould resignation from cabinet long overdue

Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould quit on Tuesday amid news reports that she was pressured to go easy on a major firm a year ago when she was justice minister, a development that deepened a political crisis for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just months ahead of an election. She was demoted from the post of justice minister last month.

Housefather says he believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he says nobody from his office pressured Wilson-Raybould but he also believes more clarity is needed to explain exactly what went on.

Wilson-Raybould, however, has chosen not to speak publicly on the allegations, saying she is protected by client privilege and cabinet confidentiality.

"I'm ashamed of what the prime minister has done to my daughter", Wilson said.

Recent statements from unnamed Liberal party insiders to the Canadian Press criticizing Wilson-Raybould's character have prompted backlash from all corners.

Trudeau told reporters that Jody Wilson-Raybould had not raised any concerns with him about how Ottawa was handling the case of construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, which is seeking to avoid a corruption trial because the executives accused of wrongdoing have left the company and it has overhauled ethics and compliance systems. Her refusal to deny the allegation has fuelled the controversy, triggered by a Globe and Mail report that the Prime Minister's Office leaned heavily on Wilson-Raybould to instruct the director of public prosecutions to drop criminal proceedings against SNC-Lavalin and pursue a negotiated remediation agreement instead.

Trudeau has lost a unique voice in cabinet, especially on issues that are keenly important to British Columbians, said Ginger Gosnell-Myers, an Indigenous rights researcher and a former Aboriginal relations manager for the City of Vancouver.


First, the prime minister said he didn't direct Wilson-Raybould to do anything untoward.

"First Nations people appreciate what Jody Wilson-Raybould has done, taking a stand on principle", she said.

The Liberal government maintains that while discussions on the matter took place with Wilson-Raybould, she wasn't pressured or told to issue a directive to the prosecutor.

In her letter Tuesday Wilson-Raybould says she is "in the process of obtaining advice on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in this matter". For the time being at least, she remains a member of the Liberal caucus.

"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's resignation is likely to haunt the Liberals during the election campaign - as will a recently-launched probe by the federal ethics commissioner. SNC-Lavalin is facing charges of bribery and fraud.

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.

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