Trudeau says there’s been ‘erosion of trust’ between PMO, Wilson-Raybould

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks to reporters at a news conference on March 7 in Ottawa Canada. He was accused of interfering in a criminal investigation of SNC-Lavalin a powerful engineering firm

Trudeau says there’s been ‘erosion of trust’ between PMO, Wilson-Raybould

He didn't say what those things are. "These have been a tough few weeks".

Both former ministers have said they intend to continue as part of the Liberal caucus and both have been nominated to run again for the Liberals this fall.

"I am obviously reflecting on lessons learned", he said.

"(I) will take many lessons from these recent days", he told reporters.

Trudeau said the continued pressure to get Wilson-Raybould to accept an outside opinion on SNC, even after she had said she'd made up her mind, came down to a "difference in perception".

SNC-Lavalin faces corruption charges for allegedly paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes between 2001 and 2011 to secure Libyan government contracts under the rule of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Wilson-Raybould had the power to scrap the decision to go to trial but decided against it. Officials need to "feel comfortable coming to me" with concerns, he said.

She crafted Bill C-16, which entrenches gender theory into law by adding "gender expression" and "gender identity" to Canada's Human Rights Code and to the Criminal Code's hate crime section, announcing the bill at a press conference attended by a 10-year-old Charlie Lowthian-Rickert, a "trans girl" from near Ottawa, as reported by the CBC.

She said Wernick spoke to her deputy and said she could speak to the director, but she responded "no I would not".

Trudeau and his aides deny doing anything wrong, saying they were only pointing out that prosecution could endanger thousands of people's jobs because a conviction would make the company ineligible for government contracts.

"I was quite taken aback", Wilson-Raybould said, adding she asked Trudeau directly if he was interfering in her role as attorney general. "I realize now that, in addition, I should have done so personally".

But the way Wilson-Raybould described it during her testimony, she had made it clear at the time that she would not be changing her mind. "Following the September 17 meeting the attorney general had with the clerk and the Prime Minister, I was debriefed that the next step on the file would be to have the clerk and the deputy minister of justice meet with the Minister", Butts said, adding, "If the Attorney-General had made a decision, and communicated it to the Prime Minister and clerk, why would there be a next step at all?"

Justin Trudeau addressed the nation in Ottawa this morning.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh criticized Trudeau's statement, noting a lack of accountability or an apology.

She arrived to learn that Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, Trudeau's deputy minister in the bureaucracy, had also been invited - and while the meeting was not specifically about the SNC-Lavalin issue, she said Trudeau raised the issue "immediately".

Scheer has also asked the RCMP to investigate possible obstruction of justice following Wilson-Raybould's testimony last week to the justice committee that has been variously described by the media as "damning", "scorching", "stunning", and a "bombshell". When Trudeau's longtime friend and former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, testified about the SNC-Lavalin issue before the House of Commons justice committee Wednesday, he was unable to provide evidence to back up the jobs claim.

Jane Philpott's resignation as Treasury Board president Monday, citing lost confidence in how the government is handling the SNC-Lavalin issue, revealed a government in chaos, Scheer has said. She resigned her cabinet position in February. "And when there's an erosion of trust within the people involved, it further complicates what is already a hard decision for the attorney general".

The controversy has prompted calls for the attorney general to be separated from the justice minister role and moved outside of cabinet, as is done in the United Kingdom. "We had heard representations from various sources including the company itself that this was an issue of deep concern to them and that it would potentially have consequences as dire as the company having to leave Canada altogether", he said.

Opposition MPs are forcing the House of Commons justice committee to hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss inviting former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould back to speak further about the government's effort to put pressure on her to shelve the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

But he insisted that Canadians can have faith in the institutions of government.

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