Wilson-Raybould resigns from cabinet

Dwayne Harmon
February 13, 2019

She didn't, however. She stayed on and kept her mouth shut - until January when Trudeau booted her from the attorney general's post and shuffled her into the relatively minor veterans' affairs portfolio.

Wilson-Raybould hasn't spoken about those allegations, which could amount to obstruction of justice charges for someone in the PMO.

But it's a pretty fair guess that her decision not to offer a plea bargain to Quebec construction giant SNC-Lavalin had something to do with it.

In her letter Tuesday, she said she has hired former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell to advise her on "the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in this matter".

"Frankly, I am both surprised and disappointed by her decision to step down", Trudeau told reporters in Winnipeg, insisting the Liberal government had done nothing improper.

Trudeau said the issue of solicitor-client privilege is complicated and he has asked David Lametti, who replaced Wilson-Raybould as justice minister and attorney general, for advice on the matter.

"How the law treats individuals or corporations in our society is not, and should never be, incumbent upon the political pressure they can exert upon politicians", he said.

In a letter to Trudeau published on her website, Wilson-Raybould said she was resigning "with a heavy heart" but did not explain why.

In the wake of that Cabinet shuffle, she released a statement saying that the justice system must "be free from even the perception of political interference and uphold the highest levels of public confidence".

Moreover, he appeared to suggest Wilson-Raybould would have resigned had she felt she'd been improperly pressured. "And what our primary concern is, will a study by the committee become an exercise in partisanship?" he said.

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The Conservatives have taken to tweeting out the Liberal committee members' contact information, in a bid to have members of the public exert pressure on them.

Long stressed he's not "rushing to any judgment", but believes "a full and transparent investigation" by the House of Commons justice committee is necessary to provide answers in the affair.

"If Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government shut the justice committee's work down, it would send a risky signal to Canadians about the state of our democracy".

"This make-believe cosmetic baloney that Trudeau's engaged in has proven itself now to be a farce", Bill Wilson told CBC host Vassy Kapelos.

Until Wilson-Raybould's demotion and resignation, the Liberals had done a good job of selling themselves as a "sunny ways party", he opined.

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.

The commissioner's role is to help appointed and elected officials prevent and avoid conflicts between their public duties and private interests.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is being investigated for illegally attempting to shield engineering firm SNC-Lavalin from criminal fraud and corruption charges involving millions of dollars in bribes to the Libyan government.

The company has pleaded not guilty.

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