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Canada opposition leader demands Trudeau quit over ethics allegations

Canada opposition leader demands Trudeau quit over ethics allegations

Several Indigenous leaders say former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould was deeply courageous in her explosive testimony on the SNC-Lavalin affair, but they're steering clear of criticizing the Trudeau government.

The Quebec-based firm is one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies.

SNC-Lavalin was charged with fraud and corruption four years ago over allegations that it paid almost 36 million US dollars in bribes to officials in the government of toppled former Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi and defrauded Libyan organizations of an estimated 98 million USA dollars between 2001 and 2011.

The justice minister is a political executive who answers to the prime minister, in charge of a federal department with major lawmaking responsibilities.

"I urge you to ensure that you use all resources at your disposal to fully and fairly investigate any potential criminal activity", Scheer wrote in a letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. Wilson-Raybould also said no one ever flatly directed her to intervene.

"I have met with Minister Wilson-Raybould a couple of times already since arriving in B.C. yesterday", Trudeau said.

"I therefore completely disagree with [Wilson-Raybould's] characterization of events", he added, brushing off a demand from Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer that he step down. "And my job as prime minister is always to stand up for good jobs, to invest in good jobs". "He has done none of that and it's shameful", McLeod said.

What is happening with SNC Lavalin? .

Such deals can only be made at the discretion of the Attorney General, and Wilson-Raybould said Wednesday that over four months she was repeatedly pressured by senior government officials to make such a deal with SNC-Lavalin.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations said he was "elated" to watch Wilson-Raybould sworn into cabinet in 2015 and felt her testimony Wednesday was a show of integrity, strength and courage.

This began in early February, when the Globe and Mail newspaper reported on allegations of political interference in the case against SNC-Lavalin.

Trudeau stressed on Thursday that his main concern was to protect jobs, not his political future or that of his party.

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"My staff, appropriately, would make her staff aware of the economic consequences of decisions, about the important of thinking about jobs", Morneau said Thursday.

Justin Trudeau has steadfastly denied any direct involvement.

To be sure, she said she didn't believe Trudeau or his aides broke the law, but that their interventions were inappropriate.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod.

The case forced the resignation of Trudeau's principal private secretary, Gerald Butts, last month.

She told the committee she was "hounded" to end the prosecution for months after the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, had rejected the idea of negotiating a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin and long after she had unequivocally declared that she would not direct Roussel to reverse her decision.

It lobbied the government, including senior officials in Trudeau's office, for an out-of-court settlement that would include paying a fine and agreeing to put in place compliance measures. "She was subjected to severe and ongoing pressure", said Cathy McLeod.

The country's top civil servant last week told the justice committee he believes there was no improper pressure applied to Wilson-Raybould by him or anyone else.

Well, Wilson-Raybould presented evidence, and he, the PM, did not.

In an unusual move, Ms Freeland appeared on the Canadian broadcaster CBC to say she fully backed Trudeau.

Maybe Jody Wilson-Raybould did experience the inappropriate, perhaps criminal, interference differently, but she also took notes.

Yet the very law that Trudeau and his Liberals passed to try and help SNC-Lavalin specifically says that if the company in question is facing charges of bribery, which SNC is, then considering issues like jobs, can not be a factor in the decision of the prosecutor. A handful of polls are showing the scandal is politically unpopular for the governing Liberals - which is worrying for them, given there is a federal election in October.