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Trudeau Dismisses Calls for His Resignation After Explosive SNC-Lavalin Testimony

The prime minister “completely disagrees” with former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s characterization of attempted political interference.

by Sarah Berman
Feb 28 2019, 2:31am

Photo by Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rebutted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s call for his resignation with a reminder that the upcoming federal election will let Canadians decide who should lead the country.

Following explosive testimony on Wednesday from former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould on alleged political interference in a corruption case, Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s characterization of events, saying he and his office always acted appropriately and professionally.

Earlier in the day Wilson-Raybould spent nearly four hours testifying about repeated attempts by Trudeau and his office to pressure her to help “find a solution” for SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal-based engineering company facing criminal prosecution. She described calls, meetings, emails and texts from several government offices—including Trudeau’s chief of staff—even after a decision had been made not to offer the company a deferred prosecution agreement.

In one instance, Wilson-Raybould said she asked Trudeau if he was “directing” her on the file, which she reminded him would be inappropriate. Trudeau denied he was directing her, saying he just wanted to “find a solution.” The testimony contradicted Trudeau’s past media messaging, which maintained he was not explicitly told about inappropriate conduct.

Following Wilson-Raybould’s appearance in front of the House of Commons justice committee, Scheer told reporters Trudeau should resign and a police investigation should be opened.

“Justin Trudeau simply cannot continue to govern this great nation now that Canadians know what he has done. That is why I am calling on Justin Trudeau to resign,” he said. “Further, the RCMP must immediately open an investigation—if it has not already done so—into the numerous examples of obstruction of justice the former Attorney General detailed in her testimony.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who was just elected MP for Burnaby South, called for a public inquiry into the scandal, but did not join the Conservatives’ call for the prime minister’s immediate resignation.

Trudeau said he was glad Wilson-Raybould had an opportunity to speak openly in front of the justice committee, but said he “completely disagrees” with her characterization of his actions.

“The decision around SNC Lavalin was always Wilson-Raybould’s, and hers alone,” Trudeau told media. He said it was the ethics commissioner’s job to determine whether a line had been crossed.

“Canadians will have a very clear choice in a few months' time about who they want to form government,” he said.

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