Canadian minister quits as political crisis deepens for Trudeau

Canadian minister quits as political crisis deepens for Trudeau

Canadian minister quits as political crisis deepens for Trudeau

Wilson-Raybould - also known by her Kwak'wala name Puglaas - had recently been caught up in allegations that the Prime Minister's office pressured her to help engineering giant SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. Because if anyone, particularly the attorney general, felt that we were not doing our job fully, responsibly and according to all the rules, as a government, it was her responsibility to come forward to me this past fall and highlight that directly to me.

Conservatives and New Democrats on the justice committee joined forces to get an emergency meeting on Wednesday to consider a motion calling on nine high-ranking government officials to testify, including Wilson-Raybould herself.

Wilson-Raybould, however, has chosen not to speak publicly on the allegations, saying she is protected by client privilege and cabinet confidentiality.

Wilson-Raybould informed the prime minister on Monday night of her intention to resign, the statement said.

The Liberals have been backsliding on their commitment to reconciliation for some time and Wilson-Raybould's resignation is just the latest manifestation, said Sheryl Lightfoot, a professor of political science, and First Nations and Indigenous studies, at UBC.

Speaking to reporters in Winnipeg, Trudeau said that he was "surprised and disappointed" by Wilson-Raybould's decision to step down.

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.

The ongoing controversy comes after a report that alleged senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office pressured Wilson-Raybould when she was justice minister and attorney general to intervene and urge prosecutors to cut a deal to save SNC-Lavalin from going to trial.

He also insisted, as he has since the story broke, that he did not direct Wilson-Raybould to come to any specific conclusions on whether to direct the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to reach an agreement with SNC-Lavalin.

Trudeau has lost a unique voice in cabinet, especially on issues that are keenly important to British Columbians, said Ginger Gosnell-Myers, an Indigenous rights researcher and a former Aboriginal relations manager for the City of Vancouver.

Monday, he said in Vancouver that he'd told Wilson-Raybould that any decision on the subject was hers alone.

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.

They are pushing to have some of Mr Trudeau's top aides and a number of Liberal MPs appear before Parliament's justice committee.

"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".

Some Indigenous leaders have been highly critical of Trudeau's decision to demote Wilson-Raybould and those criticisms escalated Tuesday.

Wilson-Raybould's resignation is likely to haunt the Liberals during the election campaign - as will a recently-launched probe by the federal ethics commissioner.

SNC-Lavalin faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with almost $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.

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