‘Sickened and appalled’ Justin Trudeau told he can no longer lead and MUST resign
Mr Trudeau is battling to hold on to his premiership after his administration was rocked by a scandal. The 47-year-old is accused of letting aides from his office inappropriately pressure former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould into dropping a prosecution against construction giant SNC-Lavalin. Yesterday Ms Wilson-Raybould, the woman at the centre of the scandal, told her “truth” on the affair at an extraordinary hearing before Canada’s House of Commons’ justice committee.
Ms Wilson-Raybould, who resigned her cabinet post earlier this month after being demoted to veterans’ affairs minister, said she faced pressure and “veiled threats” to pursue a deferred prosecution agreement against SNC-Lavalin.
Mr Trudeau feared a criminal conviction against the firm would lead to a pounding in October’s general election as it would have been barred from bidding on Canadian federal contracts for 10 years, forcing thousands of job losses and the potential relocation of the company to Britain.
Ms Wilson-Raybould told the committee: “For a period of four months from September to December 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with SNC-Lavalin.”
She added: “Within these conversations there were express statements regarding the necessity of interfering in the SNC-Lavalin matter, the potential of consequences, and veiled threats if a DPA was not made available to SNC-Lavalin.”
Following the revelations which have stunned Canada, opposition leader Andrew Scheer said Mr Trudeau “simply cannot continue to govern now that Canadians know what he had done”.
In a damning statement against Mr Trudeau, the Conservative Party chief added: “The testimony Canadians have just heard from the former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould tells the story of a Prime Minister who has lost the moral authority to govern.
“A Prime Minister who allows his partisan political motivations to overrule his duty to uphold the rule of law.”
The scandal has threatened to tear apart Mr Trudeau’s government whose image is based on honesty and transparency and Mr Scheer continued his attack by accusing the Prime Minister of allowing a “systemic culture of corruption to take root in his office and those of his most senior cabinet and public service colleagues”.
The former House speaker added he was “sickened and appalled” by Ms Wilson Raybould’s “story of inappropriate, and frankly illegal pressure brought to bear on her by the highest officials in Justin Trudeau’s government”.
Mr Scheer said the pressure was “all to let a Liberal-connected corporation off the hook on corruption charges”.
The Tory added: “Before Ms Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, Canadians knew Justin Trudeau had engineered an unwanted, sustained, and co-ordinated attempt to get Ms Wilson-Raybould to change her mind and stop the criminal trial of SNC-Lavalin.
“Today, thanks to Ms Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, we now know just how intense those efforts were: ten meetings and ten phone calls involving eleven senior government officials relentlessly targeting Ms Wilson-Raybould over a four month period – with the sole objective of bullying her into bending the law to benefit a well-connected corporation.
“The details are as shocking as they are corrupt: multiple veiled threats to her job if she didn’t bow to their demands.
“Urgings to consider the consequences on election results and shareholder value above judicial due process.
“And reminders from Justin Trudeau to his Attorney General about his own electoral prospects should she allow SNC-Lavalin’s trial to proceed.
“The people Canadians entrusted to protect the integrity of our very nation were instead only protecting themselves and their friends.
“Mr Trudeau can no longer, in good standing and with a clear conscience, lead this great nation.”