WARMINGTON: Scheer keeps up the pressure on PM

WARMINGTON: Scheer keeps up the pressure on PM

WARMINGTON: Scheer keeps up the pressure on PM

It's not lost on anybody that her recent appearance before the justice committee caused trouble for Trudeau.

"Are you politically interfering with my role as the attorney general", Wilson-Raybould says she asked Trudeau.

SNC-Lavalin faces corruption charges for allegedly paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes between 2001 and 2011 to secure Libyan government contracts under the rule of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Trudeau acknowledged that during a face-to-face meeting with Wilson-Raybould on September 17, she told him she'd made up her mind not to intervene with the public prosecutor's decision.

She crafted Bill C-16, which entrenches gender theory into law by adding "gender expression" and "gender identity" to Canada's Human Rights Code and to the Criminal Code's hate crime section, announcing the bill at a press conference attended by a 10-year-old Charlie Lowthian-Rickert, a "trans girl" from near Ottawa, as reported by the CBC. He said he reaffirmed "that the decision was hers alone".

Mr Trudeau acknowledged there had been a breakdown in trust and communications between his office and Ms Wilson-Raybould. "We can't as a country afford to let people like Justin Trudeau errode our democratic instituations threatening the very protections that we all enjoy to be treated equally in our courts". "I realize now that, in addition, I should have done so personally".

Trudeau faced a significant challenge: defending his team without appearing to undermine testimony from the widely respected Wilson-Raybould, who was Canada's first indigenous attorney general.

At Thursday's news conference, Trudeau picked up this theme, saying Wilson-Raybould should have come to him if she felt pressured.

"I realize now that, in addition, I should have done so personally", said Justin Trudeau.

The NDP, however, is in a deep fundraising hole and the party's leader, Jagmeet Singh, won't take a seat until later this month.

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Mr Trudeau's former chief aide Gerald Butts denied that in testimony to a parliamentary committee yesterday. 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". We should give him some credit for at least being willing to admit that he now recognizes, to use his favourite expression, he "has lessons to learn".

He offered few details about the content of those subsequent conversations between officials from the Prime Minister's Office and Wilson-Raybould and her staff, though Wilson-Raybould and Butts have characterized them very differently.

Hajdu had worked with Wilson-Raybould early in the government's mandate, as they were two of the three ministers initially tasked by Trudeau with launching the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. Her close friend and cabinet ally, Treasury Board president Jane Philpott, resigned in solidarity on Monday, saying she'd lost confidence in the government's handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

In February, she testified that as attorney general, she experienced "veiled threats" and "consistent and sustained" interference in the criminal prosecution of a powerful Montreal-based engineering firm.

The scandal centres on allegations that Trudeau's inner circle intervened to shield Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin from a bribery trial. "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.

The prime minister said he had now asked for external opinions on the dual role of the justice minister and attorney general, as well as the operating policies for cabinet ministers and staff related to dealings on judicial matters.

But he insisted that Canadians can have faith in the institutions of government.

Both the justice and the ethics committees have opened separate investigations into the affair.

"For him to change his agenda this week and return to Ottawa to pay attention to all the testimony that is taking place, and to actually reflect upon it and address Canadians on nation news this morning, I think it speaks to leadership, those are the qualities I want to see".

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