If Canadians were expecting an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the mishandling of the SNC-Lavalin affair, they would have to be satisfied and reassured that this learning experience would help them avoid similar pitfalls in the future.
The press conference held Thursday at 8 am was the first time PM Trudeau was offering any substantial explanation about the allegations of attempted interference by himself and his staff made by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.
While he insisted that he “takes responsibility” for what he describes as an “erosion of trust” between Wilson-Raybould and his team, he made no acknowledgement of whether the discussions that appear to have led to that erosion were inappropriate.
He also said he now believes when it comes to the discussions by political staff with Wilson-Raybould around potential job losses at SNC-Lavalin, his former attorney general “saw it differently.”
This controversy is being framed as nothing short of a terrible misunderstanding.
In a 10-minute statement in the National Press Theatre on Thursday, Trudeau did not rule out kicking either Wilson-Raybould or former president of the Treasury Board Jane Philpott out of caucus following their resignations from cabinet.
Trudeau also wished Jody Wilson-Raybould made it clear to him that she had made up her mind on the issue, had that been the case, he suggested there would not be multiple visits to her from the PMO. Speaking of those visits, PM Trudeau on hindsight should have discussed the issue with her directly rather than send in his staff.
“This has been a tough few weeks,” he said, adding he has reviewed all of the testimony given before the House of Commons justice committee in recent weeks on the matter.
What made a tough four weeks since the story broke even tougher was the resignation of Treasury Board president Jane Philpott from the federal cabinet, saying she’s lost confidence in the way the Trudeau government has dealt with the SNC-Lavalin affair.
This week the House of Commons justice committee heard from Gerald Butts, the prime minister’s former principal secretary, as well as clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick.
Nathalie Drouin, deputy justice minister and deputy attorney general, also testified.
The press conference held by PM Trudeau to address the issue and controversies lasted approximately half an hour after which he left to apologize for mistreatment of Inuit with tuberculosis at the Frobisher Inn in Iqaluit. -CINEWS