Justin Trudeau on brewing scandal: Nothing 'inappropriate' happened

Justin Trudeau on brewing scandal: Nothing 'inappropriate' happened

Justin Trudeau on brewing scandal: Nothing 'inappropriate' happened

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2019. As part of their campaign, some "urged me to take partisan political considerations into account", she said. Treasury Board president Jane Philpott said that it is "untenable" for her to remain in the cabinet amid the scandal and said she can no longer defend the government, becoming the second minister to resign in the wake of the controversy.

On Wednesday, Gerald Butts, the former principal secretary to the prime minister, testified in front of the parliamentary justice committee and rejected the idea that anyone within Trudeau's office pressured the attorney general - suggesting he and Wilson-Raybould had divergent interpretations of the same events. Butts resigned soon after, and has taken responsibility for the "erosion of trust" with Wilson-Raybould.

The prime minister repeated his concerns, she said, and she responded by telling him she had considered the matter very closely and that she was not prepared to issue what she saw as an inappropriate directive to the director of public prosecutions.

Moe also criticized Trudeau for involving Canada's ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, in the SNC-Lavalin issue when he should be working to get rid of USA tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium. "They denied this to be the case", Wilson-Raybould said, as reported in the Globe and Mail. "We had heard representations from various sources including the company itself that this was an issue of deep concern to them and that it would potentially have consequences as dire as the company having to leave Canada altogether", he said. He said situations were "experienced differently and I regret that".

Butts would only say he received internal government briefings on the matter.

On Thursday, Trudeau addressed the accusations of backroom brokering and bullying that have been dogging his government, saying he has learned "lessons" from the crisis but denying any wrongdoing. "As prime minister. I should have been", Trudeau said.

Scheer has also asked the RCMP to investigate possible obstruction of justice following Wilson-Raybould's testimony last week to the justice committee that has been variously described by the media as "damning", "scorching", "stunning", and a "bombshell".

Rankin and May, both lawyers, say the discussion on whether to separate the roles of attorney general and justice minister are valid but that's a discussion for another time.

After handing in her resignation over the way the incident was handled, Wilson-Raybould claimed she received "veiled threats" and came under sustained pressure from Trudeau's staff. It was for that reason, he said, that he believed Wilson-Raybould "was still open to hearing different arguments and different approaches on what her decision could be".

In November and December, she told senior staff she was done and had made her decision and she kept being told about job losses, Rankin said.

Jody Wilson-Raybould would have brought a wealth of experience to the Indigenous services portfolio, including first-hand knowledge from the world of First Nations politics, some Indigenous leaders said Thursday as they questioned her decision to decline the cabinet post. "I wish she had come forward to me in the fall.she did not". In Butts' view a prime minister and his personal entourage should be almost all-powerful. "I have taken - and will continue to take - many lessons from these recent days and few weeks". Butts said all they wanted was for Wilson-Raybould to seek an outside legal opinion on the matter from an eminent retired judge.

"I said to her that I was preoccupied by the number of jobs involved in in this, in Quebec and obviously across the country". The corollary to that view is that Wilson-Raybould had to be moved, somewhere, to set an example, pour encourager les autres.

"What we see now is that she wasn't prepared to change her mind". Pressed further, he said, "There were detailed conversations on a broad range of things that were discussed".

"What I can tell you is my team and everyone in this government always remains focused on how we make sure that we're protecting jobs and building a better future for Canadians and doing so in a way that protects our institutions", he added.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 11:03 a.m.

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