Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling upon PM Justin Trudeau to resign following damaging testimony from former attorney general on the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Scheer told reporters that Trudeau has “lost the moral authority to govern” and called on the RCMP to open an investigation into the controversy.
In more than three hours of testimony, Wilson-Raybould alleged that she faced “consistent and sustained pressure” for four months from Trudeau, his senior staff, Canada’s top public servant and the finance minister’s office to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
The pressure was to seek a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin. Which could help the company avoid economic damage and layoffs.
Scheer said it is clear now that Wilson-Raybould was being bullied to “bend the law” for a well-connected corporation. He accused Trudeau of allowing a “systemic culture of corruption to take root in his office” and said the episode marked the final stages of his government.
Meanwhile NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh did not support calls for the prime minister to step down but said it called for a robust independent inquiry.
“He may need to resign because of this,” Singh said.
Wilson-Raybould in her stunning testimony revealed she received 10 different phone calls and 10 meetings about the SNC-Lavalin case between her or key members of her staff and 11 people in the Prime Minister’s Office and other departments. Emails and text messages were also exchanged, she added.
Wilson-Raybould said that in a meeting with Trudeau on Sept. 17, the prime minister said SNC-Lavalin could cut many jobs and possibly move from Montreal without a remediation deal. She said Trudeau also stressed there was a provincial election in Quebec at the time and that he was an MP for the Quebec riding of Papineau.
She also accused Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick of issuing “veiled threats” during a phone call on Dec. 19, in which she alleges he referenced how Trudeau wanted to know why a remediation deal wasn’t being pursued. Wilson-Raybould said Wernick told her Trudeau would “find a way to get it done one way or another.”
In a January cabinet shuffle, Wilson-Raybould was promptly demoted to veterans’ affairs minister. She resigned from cabinet earlier this month.
Meanwhile PM Trudeau says he ‘completely disagrees’ with Wilson-Raybould’s account.
“Our government will always focus on jobs and our economy. We, of course, had discussions of the potential loss of 9,000 jobs in communities across the country, including the possibly impact on pensions,” he said in reference to SNC-Lavalin’s woes.
“My job as prime minister has always been to stand up for Canadians and Canadian workers.”
This is an evolving story that has only just begun. -CINEWS