Trudeau says ethics watchdog to decide truth in SNC-Lavalin affair

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Bombshell allegations of political interference by top-level political staffers, and even the prime minister himself hit Parliament hill this week.

Trudeau told reporters on Thursday that to his knowledge, none of the 11 officials who Wilson-Raybould named as playing a part in the government's attempt to pressure her had been contacted by the RCMP. She recounts about 10 tense meetings and 10 phone calls.

The testimony from Jody Wilson-Raybould threatens to badly damage the Liberals just months ahead of what polls suggest will be a hard-fought election.

Earlier, the leader of Canada's main opposition party, Conservative MP Andrew Scheer, demanded that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau quit after being implicated in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

When asked about her testimony on the pressure to which she was subjected, Hardie said, "Was there pressure?"

But another senior member of the Liberal Party said there was growing unhappiness among legislators about how Trudeau's team had handled the matter and said the prime minister needed to replace some of his staff.

Trudeau said the decision on whether to forgo prosecution and enter a plea agreement with the company was hers and hers alone. The Liberals say this is a first step in a cautious investigation, but the opposition calls it a coverup. "Of course I support the prime minister 100 percent". I have done that and will continue to do that.

Mr Trudeau did meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, eventually, but was criticised for the meeting happening so late in the tour.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reissued a call for a public inquiry into the allegations after Wilson-Raybould's testimony. Then to my surprise - the Clerk started to make the case for the need to have a DPA - he said "there is a board meeting on Thursday (Sept 20) with stock holders" ... "What we heard today was explosive".

February 11 - Ethics commissioner Mario Dion says he's beginning an investigation.




"I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere", the former attorney general said Wednesday afternoon.

Wilson-Raybould said she felt once she had made up her mind, it was inappropriate to have further conversations about the matter. She had been demoted from justice minister last month, and was furious, releasing a 2,000-word statement after that. "They denied this to be the case", she testified, adding later that she left because she no longer had the confidence to sit around the cabinet table. "Those concerns were denied".

The former attorney general said during her testimony this week that she viewed her demotion as reminiscent of the infamous Saturday Night Massacre, a key moment in the U.S. Watergate scandal that saw former President Richard Nixon fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox before accepting the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.

Wilson-Raybould said during her testimony that she did not feel that any illegal activity transpired by other Liberal officials who allegedly pressured her, but that she did feel it was "inappropriate" and "treading on risky ground". A "remediation agreement", a sort of plea bargain, would have headed off a trial and removed the possibility SNC-Lavalin would be banned from federal business in Canada.

She said that officials repeatedly told her that a criminal conviction for the Montreal-based firm could have disastrous economic and political consequences for the Liberal Party and the province of Quebec.

Specifically, whether the roles of attorney general and minister of justice should be separated. "So, he is in that kind [of] mood and I wanted you to be aware of that".

"Where they became very clearly inappropriate was when political issues came up, like the election in Quebec, like losing the election were SNC to move its headquarters".

After Prince said that would amount to interference in the case, Butts allegedly told her "there is no solution that does not involve some interference".

"Justin Trudeau simply can not continue to govern this country now that Canadians know what he has done and that is why I am calling on Mr. Trudeau to do the right thing and to resign", Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who is slated to run against Trudeau in Canada's upcoming October 2019 election, said in a statement to reporters.

She disputed that version of events, saying Trudeau only offered some vague assurance after she confronted him directly at the September 17 meeting, two weeks after Roussel had decided not to consider a remediation agreement.

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