Trudeau secretary and long-time pal Gerald Butts quits job

19 February, 2019, 06:08 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Motz blasts PM and his office for handling of SNC-Lavalin ordeal

"If Scott Brison had not stepped down from cabinet, Jody Wilson-Raybould would still be minister of justice and attorney general", Trudeau said.

During the political firestorm that followed the report, Wilson-Raybould refused to comment on the case, saying she was still bound by solicitor-client privilege.

To date, the director of public prosecutions has refused to allow the company to avoid a trial by negotiating a DPA or remediation agreement.

"It's impossible to overstate his (Butts') commitment to Trudeau and his importance to this government and today's Liberal Party", said senior Liberal Scott Reid, who served as chief spokesman to former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin from 2003 to 2006.

"It's crystal clear that Justin Trudeau is attempting to cover-up the SNC-Lavalin Affair", he states in the release. That challenge is ongoing. Trudeau said he would have never have moved her if his Treasury Board president hadn't resigned, forcing the change.

Some have alleged that Raybould-Wilson was shuffled out of her more prominent position into the less-prominent veterans affairs portfolio because she pushed back.

Wilson-Raybould has hired a former Supreme Court justice to advise her on what she can say publicly about the matter. He explains why the case could be made that "there's nothing to see here", since the minister of justice had the final word.

Trudeau has faced criticism since Jody Wilson-Raybould quit Trudeau's cabinet unexpectedly after a newspaper reported this month she had been pressured by the prime minister's team to go easy on construction company SNC-Lavalin past year when she was justice minister and attorney general. Trudeau denies any impropriety.

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When asked for her side of the story, Wilson-Raybould has cited solicitor-client privilege.

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion has begun his own investigation into the matter, specifically whether there's been a violation of the Conflict of Interest Act.

Trudeau was peppered over and over with questions about what happened with Wilson-Raybould, including why she was demoted and why she resigned.

Butts says he's served Trudeau "to the best of my abilities and I have at all times given the prime minister free and unfettered advice".

February 12 - Wilson-Raybould resigns as Veterans Affairs minister and says she's hired former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell to advise her on the limits of solicitor-client privilege in this case.

Mihychuk said Wilson-Raybould also worked closely with fellow cabinet minister Jane Philpott, who has supported Wilson-Raybould on social media in the wake of her resignation. Which is why Jody Wilson-Raybould asked me if I was directing her, or going to direct her, to take a particular decision and I, of course, said no, that it was her decision to make and I expected her to make it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves his office with his principal secretary Gerald Butts to attend an emergency cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

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