Trudeau no longer insisting Liberals didn't pressure Wilson-Raybould

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Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from Trudeau's cabinet in mid-February and has alleged that Trudeau and his staff subjected her to relentless pressure to help Montreal engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal prosecution on bribery and fraud charges.

Trudeau told a Liberal Party rally in Toronto that he was disappointed but understood why she had left.

Rather, he adopted a more conciliatory tone that appeared to allow for the possibility that a line may have been crossed. Katie (Telford) was like "we don't want to debate legalities anymore'". We even encourage it.

In his resignation letter, Butts denied that he or anyone else in Trudeau's office pressured Wilson-Raybould, which she refuted last week in her testimony in the justice committee.

"Concerns of this nature must be taken seriously and I can ensure you that I am", said Trudeau, who did not specifically address Philpott's stated reasons for leaving. The possibility of an arbitrary decision on her part needs to be discounted.

Trudeau has insisted that he made clear to his former attorney general that the "decision around SNC-Lavalin was Wilson-Raybould's and hers alone to make".

Trudeau named Carla Qualtrough, the minister of public services and procurement, as the acting president of the Treasury Board.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, meanwhile, would receive 40 percent.

"If [other] Liberal ministers stay silent, Canadians will have no choice but to conclude that the ethical rot that infects this government has consumed it entirely".

Speeches Wilson-Raybould gave last fall suggest that she was unhappy with the Liberal government for not moving forward fast enough with "native reconciliation". Despite the resignations of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, he said the disagreement was normal and healthy in a democratic system.

The pair's departure is a blow to Trudeau's brand. Both were first-time candidates for the Liberals in 2015.

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Also on the speakers list: Former deputy finance minister David Dodge, Mulroney's former foreign affairs minister Barbara McDougall, former Canadian ambassador to the United States Derek Burney, former Privy Council Clerk Wayne Wouters, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May - who, as the advisory notes, served as a policy advisor to Mulroney's environment minister - and Mulroney's former executive assistant Bill Pristanski, who is now listed as a registered lobbyist for SNC-Lavalin.

Last month, Wilson-Raybould testified before the House of Commons Justice Committee that Trudeau and his inner circle applied "inappropriate" pressure on her, including 'veiled threats, ' to intervene in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

However, this is not what is motivating the corporate media or at least the large sections of it that are presenting the bullying of Wilson-Raybould-something the ex-Attorney-General herself says was "not illegal"-as a transgression virtually without precedent". The controversy hinges on whether Trudeau and his officials pushed her too hard to do so.

Then, this week, Jane Philpott followed her out.

In a statement Philpott said: "Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised".

The next round of testimony on the affair is to come Wednesday. Citing solicitor-client privilege, Wilson-Raybould refuses to speak about dealings she had on the case when she was attorney general.

March 4 - Philpott, one of Justin Trudeau's most trusted ministers, announces her resignation from cabinet. Speaking in Longueuil, Que., on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the prime minister has her confidence, adding she appreciates the prime minister sees her family - she has three children - as an advantage rather than an problem.

She was moved to Treasury Board in mid-January in the same shuffle that saw Wilson-Raybould moved out of the justice portfolio into veterans affairs.

The World Socialist Web Site holds no political brief for Wilson-Raybould.

If he were to kick the pair out of caucus, he risks having at least a few Liberal backbenchers join them in political exile.

Back in Ontario, Small Business Minister Mary Ng will mark International Women's Day at a panel discussion at the Empire Club of Canada that will, as per the notice, focus on "Women Who Lead", while Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef drops by the Peterborough YWCA to show her government's support for "survivors of gender-based violence".

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