Trevor Dobbs, Staff Writer
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and his Liberal party have been making international headlines lately as it has come out that he and his administration are wrapped up in a legal scandal involving his former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. The scandal comes just seven months before the Canadian national elections and threatens to drastically harm Trudeau’s support and image as “scandal-free” among party members and independents alike.
Allegedly, senior officials from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration instructed former Canadian Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to avoid taking legal action against SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec construction firm that is being accused of participating in a corrupt government contract deal in Libya. Trudeau has denied these allegations and has said that he and his administration acted appropriately in full accordance of the law in the situation and that he does not feel the need to apologize when he did nothing wrong. Trudeau claims that the issue at play in this situation was simply a breakdown of trust and miscommunication with his former attorney general Wilson-Raybould.
Wilson-Raybould testified last week that she felt Trudeau was giving her “veiled threats” when he instructed his senior officials to request her to refrain from filing formal charges against the corruption deal of SNC-Lavalin. She states that since SNC-Lavalin is a major employer in Canada and around the world, employing around 9,000 people in Canada and around 50,000 globally that Trudeau really did not wish for the company to get into legal trouble and lose the jobs of thousands of Canadian workers as a result; it was for this reason that Trudeau asked his senior officials to instruct Wilson-Raybould to refrain from going after the firm. After Trudeau showed his concerns toward potential layoffs in the event of criminal charges brought against SNC-Lavalin, Wilson-Raybould claims that she suggested that such an act would be interfering with her political role of the attorney general of Canada. She claims to have told Prime Minister Trudeau directly, “Are you politically interfering with my role as attorney general? I would strongly advise against it.” Wilson-Raybould claims that Trudeau’s effort to persuade her was a “consistent and sustained effort” that ultimately, she succumbed to and decided to only fine the company rather than pursue a full trial against them.
Amid this scandal, Trudeau has had many calls to resign from political opponents and political allies alike; so far, he has rejected these calls and has continued to maintain that he did what he felt was the right thing to do for Canadians and was within his power in the law. While Trudeau expresses no desire to resign his position, Treasury Board president Jane Philpott has since resigned her position. The general public’s response to this was generally in favor of Wilson-Raybould’s position as a little more than half of Canadians felt that Justin Trudeau should resign in the latest Ipso poll from Global News.