Wilson-Raybould resignation sets back Liberal relationship with B.C. First Nations

Trudeau in ethics probe over handling of Libyan contract fraud

Trudeau in ethics probe over handling of Libyan contract fraud

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould has resigned from cabinet, following claims the Prime Minister's Office pressured her to help Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

In her letter of resignation as Veterans Affairs Minister Wilson-Raybould said she has retained former Supreme Court judge Thomas Cromwell to provide advice about speaking publicly about the scandal.

"This is an issue that has been much talked about over the last few days and I think it's important Canadians continue to have confidence in our system", Trudeau pointed out.

First, the prime minister said he didn't direct Wilson-Raybould to do anything untoward.

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.

Monday, he said in Vancouver that he'd told Wilson-Raybould that any decision on the subject was hers alone.

He went on to say that he welcomed an investigation by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to look into the affair.

Wilson-Raybould shepherded legislation to allow medical assistance in dying, prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression, and to legalize cannabis.

While the controversy snowballed, Ms Wilson-Raybould declined to speak, citing solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality.

The attorney general must consent to the negotiation of the agreement. Many were puzzled by the fact that the Prime Minister never clearly explained what she had done to deserve the demotion.

Federal byelections will be held on February 25 in three vacant ridings - Burnaby South, where NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is hoping to win a seat in the House of Commons, the Ontario riding of York-Simcoe and Montreal's Outremont.

Meanwhile, Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O'Regan teams up with Star Blanket Cree Nation chief Michael Starr to "celebrate a historic addition" at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina.

Conservative Leader Albert Scheer has led the charge to haul Trudeau's aides and top members of his party in front of an emergency meeting of the justice committee for what he calls "unprecedented" attempts at influencing a criminal proceeding.

Now though, Canadians aren't as confident following her sudden resignation from Trudeau's cabinet.

Liberal MPs hold the majority on the committee and it's possible that they could amend the language in the motion before them to change the scope or focus of the proposed study.

Liberal MP and committee chair Anthony Housefather has indicated that he will likely support an investigation. And that's a huge blow for Trudeau and the PMO, if indeed they were covering up the affair.

She thanks her staff, officials and Canadians who supported her while in cabinet.

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".

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said in a statement that he was "saddened" by Wilson-Raybould's departure, noting that many First Nations people celebrated her appointment to the justice portfolio as a "testament to her expertise, experience and intellect".

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