Trudeau not the prime minister of Quebec: Saskatchewan premier

Saul Bowman
March 10, 2019

"Jane Philpott's resignation from cabinet clearly demonstrates a government in total chaos led by a disgraced prime minister, consumed with scandal, and focused only on his political survival", Scheer said Monday.

"I have never raised partisan considerations" with former attorney general Wilson-Raybould, Trudeau added.

"As prime minister. I should have been", Trudeau said.

"I was not aware of that erosion of trust". "I said to her that I was preoccupied by the number of jobs involved in this in Quebec and obviously across the country", he said.

Wilson-Raybould told the House of Commons justice committee last week that officials, citing the need to protect jobs, kept on pressing her to reconsider even after she made clear her mind was made up.

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

Trudeau addressed Wilson-Raybould's accusation that he injected partisan considerations into a September 17 discussion about the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on charges of bribery and corruption related to contracts in Libya.

SNC-Lavalin faces corruption charges for allegedly paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes between 2001 and 2011 to secure Libyan government contracts under the rule of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

SNC-Lavalin lobbied Trudeau government to water down penalties to avoid ban on receiving public contracts.

As for Trudeau, he said reminding Wilson-Raybould that his own riding is in Montreal-in the context of anxious talk about what would happen if a Montreal-headquartered company suffered as a result of a criminal trial-wasn't partisan either.

She said Trudeau and top-level staffers "hounded" her over four months when she was justice minister in a "consistent and sustained effort to seek to politically interfere" in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, including "veiled threats" against her.

In a ruling, Justice Catherine Kane said the company's application for a review of the prosecutors' decision "had no reasonable prospect of success". "I think the heart of the matter is the conduct of the federal government and the worldwide activities of SNC-Lavalin".

"I think this one required a second look instead of going with the traditional response of, you know, 'Let's put this minister back in line, '" Mochama said.

Trudeau's popularity has since sunk, prompting Gerald Butts, his former chief political adviser and best friend, to testify in defense of the administration.

Trudeau's government has been reeling for the past month since allegations surfaced that Wilson-Raybould was improperly pressured to stop a criminal prosecution of the engineering giant and was later shuffled out of the justice portfolio.

Before abruptly cancelling two appearances that morning, Trudeau had been scheduled to address reporters at a Canadian Tire store to tout what Canadians can do with their carbon tax rebates. "We now learn that she was not".

For his part, Trudeau, speaking in Toronto Friday, without issuing an apology, said the matter "has generated an important discussion" about how ministers, staff and officials conduct themselves.

If Liberals, who hold a majority in parliament, break ranks, it could trigger snap elections. She said she explained to the Wernick and Trudeau that she had already talked with her deputy about "what my position was on the matter". 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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