Canada minister Jody Wilson-Raybould resigns amid SNC-Lavalin affair

Jody Wilson-RaybouldAdrian Wyld  THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Globe and Mail reported that people in Trudeau's office tried to pressure Wilson-Raybould past year to help construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc avoid a corruption trial when she was justice minister.

Canada's former justice minister has quit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet amid allegations Trudeau's office pressured her to avoid prosecuting a major Canadian engineering firm.

And this time, he went straight for the throat of his former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from cabinet earlier Tuesday in a shocking development.

Wilson-Raybould, who the Globe and Mail said had ignored the pressure, was demoted from the justice ministry last month. She did not. Nobody did.

"She could have ended this entire controversy some time ago by simply saying: 'I wasn't pressured".

"Indeed, I've heard those calls and I take them very seriously". She has refused to comment on the allegation, citing solicitor-client privilege.

"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", Trudeau said.

Maybe Wilson-Raybould would finally be the one to uphold basic human rights and fairness for Indigenous people.

The union attributed these anonymous, "cowardly" attempts to discredit Wilson-Raybould to Trudeau's staff and said they "perpetuate colonial-era, sexist stereotypes that Indigenous women can not be powerful, forthright and steadfast in positions of power".

Given that, he now has no other ethical choice but to waive client-solicitor and cabinet confidentiality, allowing Wilson-Raybould to tell Canadians what, from her perspective, happened.

Wilson-Raybould, 47, appointed justice minister when Trudeau's Liberals came to power in November 2015, is one of the most prominent aboriginal politicians in federal politics.

Trudeau told reporters that Jody Wilson-Raybould had not raised any concerns with him about how Ottawa was handling the case of construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, which is seeking to avoid a corruption trial because the executives accused of wrongdoing have left the company and it has overhauled ethics and compliance systems.

Her commitment to these principles remains unchanged, she said in a statement, "This work must and will carry on". "I am in the process of obtaining advice on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in the matter and as such, have retained the Honourable Albert Cromwell, CC as counsel", she said in a statement.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said he was "saddened" to learn about the resignation.

While the Prime Minister has faced many questions during the past five days over his decision to remove Wilson-Raybould from her role as AG, he has repeatedly said he did not "direct" her to make any decision and, just yesterday, the PM said that her position in cabinet "should actually speak for itself".

Liberal MP and committee chair Anthony Housefather has indicated that he will likely support an investigation.

Mario Dion, Canada's independent ethics commissioner, said on Monday he was probing allegations of possible wrongdoing by senior officials.

The justice committee meets Wednesday at the request of opposition MPs to decide whether to launch a study and Housefather says as chair he will see that the meeting is public.

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