Political crisis hurts Trudeau's image as elections loom

Justin Trudeau shares a new version of what happened at his September 2018 meeting with Jody Wilson-Raybould

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the SNC Lavalin scandal on Thursday.

Wilson-Raybould said that after the director of public prosecutions rejected the possibility of a deferred prosecution agreement, officials in Trudeau's administration began to exert pressure on her.

Jody Wilson-Raybould was swept out of cabinet for not giving Trudeau the decision he wanted.

This week the House of Commons justice committee heard from Gerald Butts, the prime minister's former principal secretary, as well as clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick. "And when there's an erosion of trust within the people involved, it further complicates what is already a hard decision for the attorney general".

"It's odd to think that it would be surprising to the Prime Minister's Office that she had this view of the Indian Act", she said.

Days after resigning from cabinet over the SNC-Lavalin affair, Jane Philpott has made her first public remarks, speaking at an International Women's Day event in Ottawa.

"I now understand that she saw it differently", he said.

In his highly anticipated testimony to the Commons justice committee Wednesday morning, Butts denied the Liberal government attempted to improperly intervene in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal-based global engineering firm, reported CBC.

SNC-Lavalin was charged in 2015 with corruption for allegedly bribing officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to secure government contracts during the rule of former strongman Moamer Kadhafi.

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SNC-Lavalin openly lobbied the Canadian government for an out-of-court settlement that would mean paying a fine and agreeing to stricter compliance measures.

Is there a rift in the party now between Team Trudeau and Team Wilson-Raybould?

Last week, Wilson-Raybould testified before the committee that she had been pressured repeatedly between September and December of past year to drop criminal prosecution against SNC Lavalin, a Quebec engineering firm accused of bribing officials in Libya to land contracts.

In her ruling Friday, Federal Court Justice Catherine Kane said prosecutorial decision-making is not subject to judicial review, except for cases where there is an abuse of process.

"Indeed, I expect them to do so", he said. And a prime minister has to remove them if they aren't playing ball.

"We're at a time where Canadians are anxious about what they see in the news from around the world, the cynicism around our institutions, the polarization in our politics", he said. Trudeau on Thursday denied allegations of political meddling in the criminal prosecution of corporate giant SNC-Lavalin that have plunged his liberal government into its worst crisis yet.

"On the specific question of a DPA, the at is the attorney general's decision to make. I asked her if she could revisit that decision, if she was open to considering, to looking at it once again, and she said that she would". And he did hold out an olive branch to the former ministers when asked how they can remain in the Liberal caucus and run for the Liberal party in this fall's election, given their lack of confidence in his leadership.

Trudeau's government has "allowed for some diversity of thought", Mochama said. The Liberals have been claiming if SNC doesn't get a deal that it will leave Montreal, this despite a financing agreement with Quebec's pension fund manager, the Caisse de dépôt, that requires the company to keep its headquarters in that city until at least 2024.

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