Trudeau's principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Trudeau's principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Trudeau's principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

"It's imperative that Justin Trudeau waive solicitor-client privilege in this case so Ms. Wilson-Raybould can speak".

Trudeau defended that shakeup, arguing it was triggered by former Treasury Board president Scott Brison's decision to not run again and to step down from cabinet.

"Any accusation that I or the staff put pressure on the attorney general is simply not true ..."

The unusual call to Liberal MPs came as Trudeau's government scrambled to deal with the aftershocks of Wilson-Raybould's abrupt resignation Tuesday as Veterans Affairs minister.

Wilson-Raybould resigned from Trudeau's cabinet last week. The prime minister acknowledged cabinet held talks about the case, but said he didn't express a preferred outcome to Wilson-Raybould. "Instead, the Trudeau Liberals helped cover-up the truth of what really happened between the Prime Minister's Office and the former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould".

"We take very seriously our responsibility of standing up for jobs, of protecting jobs, of growing the economy, of making sure there are good jobs right across the country as there are with SNC-Lavalin".

"I applaud her on her integrity and all the hard work she has done. But as we do that we always need to make sure we're standing up for the rule of law and protecting the independence of our justice system". "I don't know why the prime minister thinks he is winning the day and sounding at all believable".

The Globe reported that the PMO pressured Wilson-Raybould to intervene after the Public Prosecution Service of Canada announced criteria for a remediation agreement was not met and would not be offered to the company.

The prime minister said, as he has previously, that anyone concerned about pressure created by those discussions should have come to him if they felt they were inappropriate.

"I accept her decision even if I don't entirely understand it", Trudeau said.

While there will a process to get answers for her departure through the House of Commons justice committee and ethics commissioner, Bellegarde says the Liberals must push critical pieces of legislation, including a recently tabled bill on Indigenous languages and a proposed bill on child welfare.

SNC-Lavalin faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with almost $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011. She has not explained why and she has not commented on the allegation, levelled by anonymous sources in a Globe and Mail story 10 days ago, that she was improperly pressured, citing solicitor-client privilege.

The company has pleaded not guilty.

SNC-Lavalin faces the possibility of being banned from federal contracts - a key portion of its work - for a decade if the company is convicted of bribery and fraud linked to the company's efforts to secure business in Libya. Its preliminary hearing is scheduled to resume Friday.

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