Justin Trudeau Loses Another Cabinet Minister as Corruption Scandal Grows

A Brit's Guide To The'Unprecedented Scandal That Could Topple

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from Trudeau's cabinet in mid-February and has alleged that Trudeau and his staff subjected her to relentless pressure to help Montreal engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal prosecution on bribery and fraud charges.

Canadian Treasury Board Secretary Jane Philpott resigned from the Trudeau government cabinet Monday.

"I must abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities and constitutional obligations". She is the second cabinet member to quit over the scandal. "Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised", she said. "I have concluded that I must resign as a member of cabinet".

Trudeau's Liberals sit at 33.9 percent in national polls - still competitive in Canada's multi-party system, but trailing the Conservative Party at 35.8 percent, according to a poll aggregator run by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

She also said she was convinced her refusal to give way to the pressure had prompted her demotion.

She said she had received "veiled threats" and "hounding" from senior government officials close to the PM, who were pushing for a deferred prosecution agreement.

But the current political scandal, in which Trudeau is accused of meddling in a federal criminal investigation, is tearing his cabinet apart as opposition leaders call for his resignation. She told the committee that she believes the pressure she faced was inappropriate but not illegal.

Trudeau has admitted that he raised the issue of prosecution of the company with Wilson-Raybould, but insisted that he acted appropriately.

Since taking office in 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has become a progressive icon, due to his Liberal Party's championing of climate change action and refugee rights, as well as Trudeau's youthful looks and often charming demeanor. "There can be a cost to acting on one's principles, but there is a bigger cost to abandoning them".

Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who announced over the weekend she would not be running for her Whitby, Ont. seat in the fall election, Tweeted her support for Philpott Monday.

Cameras follow Jody Wilson Raybould as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa
ASSOCIATED PRESSCameras follow Jody Wilson Raybould as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa on Wednesday

He has said he completely disagrees with her view that she was inappropriately pressured.

After a series of departures and criticism from within his own cabinet and caucus, perhaps no one could blame the prime minister for being skeptical about whether he was facing a friendly crowd.

Newly appointed president of the Treasury Board Jane Philpott poses for a photo with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Trudeau's cabinet shuffle, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 14, 2019.

Two Liberal legislators voted with the opposition last week in a failed bid to launch a public inquiry, while a female Liberal member of parliament tweeted her support for Wilson-Raybould, adding the hash tag #IStandWithHer.

Philpott's resignation follows former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould's decision to resign in February.

This is the third high-profile resignation following accusations Mr Trudeau and some of his top aides tried to shield SNC-Lavalin from a corruption trial.

Trudeau denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign.

Trudeau said that "enjoying our natural world is a huge part of the Canadian identity". The consequent speech was interrupted again by more heckling and a minor fistfight in the audience, to which the prime minister reacted by saying: "Oh boy, oh boy".

"This is a spectacular blow to the government" said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. The motion was easily defeated by the Liberal majority in the House of Commons.

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