Canada’s Liberal government rocked by high-profile resignations
23 February 2019
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has been rocked over the past 12 days by two high-profile resignations triggered by its intervention into a scandal involving Canada’s largest engineering and construction company, SNC-Lavalin.
The former Justice Minister and Attorney-General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, quit cabinet and Gerald Butts resigned as Trudeau’s principal secretary or “chief of staff” after reports emerged that the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO) had sought to bully Wilson-Raybould into halting SNC-Lavalin’s criminal prosecution for fraud and bribery.
The scandal erupted February 7, when the Globe and Mail charged that members of the PMO had put undue pressure on Wilson-Raybould to overturn the decision of the Public Prosecution Service not to offer SNC-Lavalin a “deferred prosecution agreement,” under which the charges would have been dropped in exchange for pledges not to engage in further law-breaking.
The Globe also suggested that the reason Trudeau had relegated Wilson-Raybould—whose appointment as Canada’s first indigenous Justice Minister he had touted as proof of his government’s “progressive” character—to the lowly post of Veteran Affairs minister last month was because she had refused to do the PMO’s bidding and exempt SNC-Lavalin from criminal prosecution.
SNC-Lavalin has been charged with paying $48 million in bribes to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011 to secure public contracts under the Gaddafi regime.
If it is convicted, the engineering giant will be automatically banned from doing business with the federal government for 10 years.
The Trudeau government has made little secret of its desire to come to…