Trudeau ‘surprised’ by minister’s resignation


Jody Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from the Liberal cabinet Tuesday, has cited the privilege as the reason she can not speak publicly about discussions with the prime minister's inner circle on the fate of criminal charges against construction and engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

Even so, a full contingent of Team Trudeau cabinet ministers is nevertheless set to hit the circuit to tout their government's record, although each and every one of them should be prepared to face questions on the latest developments in the SNC Lavalin controversy.

Wilson-Raybould is one of very few cabinet ministers who has experienced colonialism, she said.

In a letter to Trudeau published on her website, Wilson-Raybould said she was resigning "with a heavy heart" but did not explain why.

Earlier in the day, now-former veterans affairs minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced her resignation from cabinet.

If that were true, then Ms. Wilson-Raybould's sudden and self-directed exit from cabinet qualifies as an emphatic rejection of the PM's supportive sentiment and, more importantly, a loudly bellowed warning things are likely to get a lot worse for Mr. Trudeau between now and when Canadians head to the polls this fall.

Given the last 24 hours or so, it's a safe bet that collective attention of Official Ottawa - not to mention the national political news cycle -will be focused on the West Block committee room where MPs will gather to discuss whether to launch a formal parliamentary investigation into allegations of attempted political interference in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

SNC-Lavalin's head office in Montreal.

Does that mean the Liberals will allow the committee to hear from Wilson-Raybould?

Ms Wilson-Raybould has so far declined to comment on the story, citing solicitor-client privilege.

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"Our government did its job properly and according to all the rules", he said, while upbraiding his former attorney general, if she felt otherwise, for not bringing her concerns to him directly.

It shouldn't be lost on anyone that the former attorney general has hired a retired Supreme Court justice to advise her. "Had I been her I would have resigned, as soon as that demotion took".

Wilson-Raybould hasn't spoken about those allegations, which could amount to obstruction of justice charges for someone in the PMO.

Reporters at the Winnipeg event asked Trudeau if he supports a Justice Committee investigation, and if he will testify as Conservatives have called for.

The resignation is the second blow for Trudeau in two days over the affair.

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".

He said he's "concerned about the many unanswered questions" surrounding Wilson-Raybould's resignation and added that this is "echoed by many First Nations across the country".

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Garrison Settee offered a more pointed rebuke, equating the government's treatment of Wilson-Raybould to "character assassination".

In her letter, Wilson-Raybould thanked her staff, officials and Canadians who supported her while in cabinet and concluded: "Regardless of background, geography, or party affiliation, we must stand together for the values that Canada is built on, and which are the foundation for our future".