Canada opposition leader demands Trudeau quit over ethics allegations

Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson Raybould walks to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 26 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Sean Kilpatrick

Despite the opposition party's calls for Trudeau to resign, the Canadian prime minister has refused, maintaining that any decision to avoid prosecuting SNC-Lavalin was Wilson-Raybould's alone. He also called for a federal investigation into the possibility that government officials obstructed justice. He also repeated that both him and his office were appropriate in all their dealings with Wilson-Raybould and her office, and that he disagreed with her version of events.

Wilson-Raybould's response continued to be that she was doing her job as the attorney general, and upholding the integrity of the office. "He has done none of that and it's shameful", McLeod said.

Butts denied that his resignation had anything to do with the SNC-Lavalin affair saying accusations that he or others put pressure on former Attorney General Wilson-Raybould were "simply not true".

"I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere", the former attorney general said Wednesday afternoon.

And she said the fact there was a provincial election in Quebec was a major concern for the Liberal government. Wilson-Raybould said Prince was told by Butts "there is no solution here that does not involve some interference".

The trip damaged Mr Trudeau's reputation at home, making him more irritating than adorable, journalist Micheline Maynard wrote.

In a CBC radio interview, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said caucus is a "broad church" that accommodates diverse views.

"Like you, I was sickened and appalled by her story of inappropriate and, frankly, bordering on illegal pressure".

The shuffle marks the end of a tumultuous week for the prime minister. Thus far, the scandal has been politically costly; Gerald Butts, a longtime friend of Trudeau's, and his closest adviser, resigned two weeks ago. She also offered to line up op-eds in the media supporting a decision to intervene in the prosecution, according to the texts.

But the most egregious pressure came the following day, on December 19, when Wilson-Raybould said she received what she deemed to be three "veiled threats" that she could lose her job from the clerk of the Privy Council, Wernick.

February 13 - The House of Commons justice committee debates its own probe of the issue.

Trudeau did not dispute that the SNC-Lavalin case was a hot topic of discussion with Wilson-Raybould.

Mr Trudeau's Liberal Party argues his time as premier has been successful, claiming 825,000 Canadians have been lifted out of poverty since he became Prime Minister in 2015. A conviction could bar the company from bidding on Canadian government business, potentially devastating it. Asked about a potential investigation on Thursday, the RCMP said they had no information to provide.

"My staff, appropriately, would make her staff aware of the economic consequences of decisions, about the important of thinking about jobs", Morneau said Thursday.

Wilson-Raybould said during her testimony that she did not feel that any illegal activity transpired by other Liberal officials who allegedly pressured her, but that she did feel it was "inappropriate" and "treading on risky ground".

In the wake of the allegations, Wilson-Raybould, who was shuffled to the veterans affairs department last month in a move that was widely seen as a shocking demotion, resigned.

The scandal has rocked the Canadian political scene and has led to calls from Conservative opposition lead Andrew Scheer for the prime minister to

However, one Liberal backbencher, British Columbia MP Jati Sidhu, told Abbotsford News that Wilson-Raybould is not a team player, that her father (himself a prominent Indigenous leader) might be "pulling the strings" and that her behaviour suggests she "couldn't handle the stress". "They denied this to be the case", she testified, adding later that she left because she no longer had the confidence to sit around the cabinet table.

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