The SNC-Lavalin scandal has been rumbling on for two months now after former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she had been leaned on last year to ensure construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc escaped a corruption trial. Former Treasury Board chief Jane Philpott resigned her post because she disagreed with how Trudeau had handled the matter and this week he ousted both women from his party. Ms Philpott said: “There is very good evidence that there were attempts to have political interference with a very serious criminal trial.
“I have tried to suggest that the way to deal with this is to speak the truth, to admit that mistakes were made, to apologize to Canadians for it and find out how it happened and make sure it never happens again.”
In an interview with the Globe and Mail newspaper, Ms Wilson-Raybould said Mr Trudeau should have “accepted responsibility and apologised to Canadians.”
Ms Wilson-Raybould has said officials urged her to overrule prosecutors who insisted SNC-Lavalin face trial on charges of bribing Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011. The firm wanted to take advantage of a law passed last year allowing it to escape with a fine.
Mr Trudeau continues to deny any wrongdoing, saying he and officials had wanted to make sure Ms Wilson-Raybould understood the potential for job losses if SNC-Lavalin were found guilty.
The Canadian Prime Minister this week again stressed jobs were at the forefront of his administration’s approach to government.
In an editorial, the Globe and Mail, which broke the SNC-Lavalin story in February, said Mr Trudeau should have immediately apologised and moved on.
The newspaper said: “Name the error. Make it right. End the story.”
At the start of the year, the Liberals looked well-placed to win October’s federal election, but an Ipsos poll last week showed them trailing the rival Conservative Party by 10 percentage points.
While promoting a job-training initiative in Alma, Quebec, Trudeau said Liberals had “worked very hard” for weeks to reconcile with Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, but came up short.
He said: ”I deeply respect that the former attorney general felt that there was inappropriate pressure put on her. I respect that, but I disagree.
“It’s the job of the government to continue to look for ways to try and protect Canadians and their work.”
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