Question of solicitor-client privilege comes to fore in SNC-Lavalin controversy

Trudeau in ethics probe over handling of Libyan contract fraud

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's actions in the SNC Lavalin matter, not to mention the ongoing Norman scandal, fall far short of the bar he set for him and his government in the heady days of summer 2015.

Three years ago, when Trudeau appointed Wilson-Raybould to the AG's role, he boasted about the gender parity in his cabinet, saying: "Because it's 2015". "And I will continue to do that every day I have the privilege to be the minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada".

Trudeau was elected promising that the relationship this country has with Indigenous people was, to him, of the utmost importance.

Justin Trudeau welcomed Monday an investigation by the federal ethics commissioner into an allegation that his office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

And then, this all-important statement: "I am aware that many Canadians wish for me to speak on matters that have been in the media over the last week".

I look forward to continuing to serve as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Granville.

During a high-level speech in B.C.to an audience including the province's premier, the provincial cabinet and Indigenous leaders, Wilson-Raybould again showed her frustrations with the Liberal government's reconciliation efforts.

Her exit came less than 24 hours after Trudeau said he had "full confidence" in her and suggested she would have resigned from cabinet on principle if she had felt anyone had tried to improperly pressure her.

"In our system of government, of course, her presence in cabinet should actually speak for itself".

It must have been increasingly uncomfortable for Wilson-Raybould in cabinet, watching as the government ignored its promises on making First Nations, Métis and Inuit proper partners in everything from drafting legislation to fulfilling funding commitments.

"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", said federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

"She is an fantastic individual but to see her publicly humiliated and the subject of a deliberate smear campaign is infuriating", he said.

In her letter, the MP says that her decision "is in no way a reflection" on veterans, their families or their service. "Clearly, there is something more than he has been forthcoming with".

The whole Wilson-Raybould affair has had a bad odour to it right from the moment Trudeau announced that she was being shuffled from attorney general's portfolio to veteran's affairs, a move which was seen as a demotion.

Some Indigenous leaders have been critical of Trudeau's decision to demote Wilson-Raybould.

Her resignation is a potential blow to Trudeau as he faces re-election this year.

SNC-Lavalin lobbied the government, including senior officials in Trudeau's office, for an out-of-court settlement that would include paying a fine and agreeing to put in place compliance measures. She has refused to comment on the allegation, citing solicitor-client privilege. "And that's why I continued to be puzzled and obviously disappointed by her decision to step down from cabinet".

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