Wilson-Raybould a credit to BC

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA-Jody Wilson-Raybould would still be justice minister if it wasn't for the resignation of former Treasury Board president Scott Brison, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on February 15, downplaying suggestions she was moved for not giving into political arm-twisting.

February 18 - Trudeau's closest adviser and longtime friend Gerald Butts resigns as his principal secretary.

Wilson-Raybould proceeded to quit the cabinet on February 12. But the fact is that this accusation exists.

"It is in the best interests of the office and its important work for me to step away", said Butts.

Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin was charged in 2015 with corruption for allegedly bribing officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to secure government contracts during former strongman Moamer Kadhafi's reign. She is the first Indigenous person to hold the post, which combines duties as a politician (heading the Department of Justice) and a legal official (overseeing prosecutions).

This week, Trudeau said it was only because of former Treasury Secretary Scott Brison's resignation that the cabinet was shuffled and Raybould-Wilson moved. "Trudeau has leaned on Butts more than anyone".

February 12 - Wilson-Raybould resigns as Veterans Affairs minister and says she's hired former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell to advise her on the limits of solicitor-client privilege in this case.

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

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The meeting has become a key incident in the controversy over allegations that Wilson-Raybould was subjected to political arm-twisting to help the company avoid criminal prosecution. A conviction would bar the company from bidding on Canadian government business, potentially devastating it. SNC-Lavalin is a major employer in Quebec, with about 3,400 employees in the province, 9,000 employees in Canada and more than 50,000 worldwide.

When asked if Wilson-Raybould might have interpreted his comments as pressure, Trudeau insisted again that it was her responsibility to raise those concerns.

But shortly after, in an unusual move for a minister who has been shuffled, Wilson-Raybould released a letter outlining her accomplishments while holding the justice and attorney general portfolio.

He said it was Wilson-Raybould's choice to make.

The Liberal-dominated House of Commons justice committee has agreed to hear from a handful of witnesses, but the list does not include Wilson-Raybould.

Trudeau, who faces a re-election bid in October, accepted Butts' resignation and said he had served the country with "integrity, sage advice and devotion". "I want to thank him for his service and continued friendship".

February 11 - Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion says he's beginning an investigation. "Trudeau needs to stop hiding behind other people and come clean", Scheer tweeted.

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