Second Canadian minister quits over Trudeau government's handling of political scandal

by Garry Watts March 7, 2019, 0:42
Second Canadian minister quits over Trudeau government's handling of political scandal

Treasury Board president Jane Philpott said Monday that it is "untenable" for her to remain in the cabinet amid the scandal and said she can no longer defend the government, becoming the second minister to resign in the wake of the controversy.

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, Jan, 14, 2019.

"I have been considering the events that have shaken the federal government in recent weeks and after serious reflection, I have concluded that I must resign as a member of Cabinet", Philpott said on Twitter.

Philpott said she would continue as a Parliament member for Trudeau's Liberal Party.

"It is a huge privilege for me to serve in this government, to serve as foreign minister for Canada", she said. And while I am disappointed, I understand her decision to step down.

Phillip joined Conservative leader Andrew Scheer in calling for Trudeau's resignation, and also echoed NDP leader Jagmeet Sing's demand for a public inquiry into the SNC controversy.

Even within the context of the political crisis in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now seemingly intractably entangled, it's hard to imagine a more devastating development than the departure of Jane Philpott, who walked away - albeit "regretfully - from the front bench on Monday due to what she described as "serious concerns" over both the allegations of attempted political interference in the SNC-Lavalin case, and how the government of which she was, until recently, a key member, "has responded to the issues raised".

A conviction in the Canadian courts would automatically disqualify SNC-Lavalin from bidding on public contracts in Canada for a decade, which would result in a considerable loss of revenue for the company.

That same day, Wilson-Raybould posts an eyebrow-raising letter outlining her record as justice minister and noting a great deal of work remains to be done toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. When asked why he was pushing the 50-50 number in 2015, Trudeau said, "Because it's 2015".

Royce Koop, a political scientist at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, said that might now change.

UNC's Roy Williams falls near bench, helped off court
Cam Johnson added 19 points and Luke Maye had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels (24-5, 14-2 ACC). It is unclear whether he will return, but associate head coach Steve Robinson will serve in the interim.

Philpott said evidence of efforts by politicians and officials to pressure Wilson-Raybould had raised serious concerns. "But this is going to shift opinion in the caucus".

February 28 - Trudeau says he is considering whether Wilson-Raybould can remain in the Liberal caucus.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes, an MP in Mr Trudeau's party who announced last week that she would not seek re-election, tweeted her support for Ms Philpott and thanked her.

For a while, they appeared to thrive in the super-heated, high-pressure world of federal politics, until they didn't. As minister of health, she worked with Wilson-Raybould in legalizing medical assistance in dying.

Female cabinet ministers stuck up for the Liberals and Trudeau on Tuesday.

The company is facing allegations that it bribed Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011, when the country was ruled by Muammar Gadhafi.

Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould arrives to give her testimony about the SNC-Lavalin affair before a justice committee hearing on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 27, 2019. On Feb. 12, she resigned.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said Philpott's resignation shows the Trudeau government "is in a precarious situation, and I think the entire country is beginning to wonder what kind of impact this will have on the national interest for everybody in the country". Despite the resignations of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, he said the disagreement was normal and healthy in a democratic system.

Teegee expressed his disappointment during a meeting with Trudeau in January, other First Nation leaders met with Trudeau in January, he said, "but perhaps now more than ever..."

Trudeau was already on the back foot prior to Philpott's resignation, with sections of the press echoing the Conservative Official Opposition in demanding that he resign following Wilson-Raybould's damning testimony to the House of Commons Justice Committee last week.

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