Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould resigns from cabinet

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday

Canadian Press Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday

While it is not entirely clear what sort of discussions took place between Wilson-Raybould and prime ministerial officials on the SNC-Lavalin matter, it appears she feels bound by solicitor-client privilege by virtue of the advice she provided as attorney general.

Trudeau tried to reassure Indigenous Canadians that, despite Wilson-Raybould's resignation, the Indigenous reconciliation effort remains a priority for his government - and that without an Indigenous member of cabinet, he'll get his feedback on the file from Canadians across the country. Trudeau has denied the report. The news comes only days after allegations that Wilson-Raybould was asked to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal charges at the request of the Prime Minister's Office.

"This resignation is not consistent with conversations I had with Jody weeks ago when I asked her to serve as Canada's minister for Veterans Affairs and associate minister of National Defence".

But it's a pretty fair guess that her decision not to offer a plea bargain to Quebec construction giant SNC-Lavalin had something to do with it.

As the former attorney general, Wilson-Raybould has refused to comment on the allegation, citing solicitor-client privilege.

Wilson-Raybould said she intends to continue serving as the MP for the riding of Vancouver-Granville.

What has been the reaction?


And on Monday, Trudeau said he welcomed news that federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion has initiated his own investigation into the matter, specifically whether there's been a violation of a Conflict of Interest Act provision which prohibits a public office holder from seeking to influence a decision so as to improperly further another person's private interests.

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The goodwill Trudeau generated with First Nations people at the beginning of his term has evaporated recently, she said.

Federal opposition parties have jumped at the allegations of political interference in this federal election year in Canada.

Long stressed he's not "rushing to any judgment", but believes "a full and transparent investigation" by the House of Commons justice committee is necessary to provide answers in the affair.

SNC-Lavalin has declined to comment on any of the reports. The public prosecutor has said a remediation agreement would be inappropriate in this case; the company is challenging that decision in court.

By law, the attorney general can overrule justice officials and make the final decision in matters of federal criminal prosecution.

SNC-Lavalin has argued it should be allowed to avoid prosecution because its corporate leadership and culture has changed in the wake of the charges and that it has "worked tirelessly to achieve excellence in governance and integrity". Wilson-Raybould has a lot of clout and knowledge about First Nations communities, North said.

Ms Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the justice portfolio last month and into veteran's affairs, a move widely seen as a demotion. "Not only is she one of very few women in that job, she's a former regional chief of British Columbia and she is an Indigenous woman".

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