Saturday 19 October 2019

More woe for Trudeau as top minister quits


Disappointed: Canada’s Justin Trudeau. Photo: Reuters/Mark Blinch
Disappointed: Canada’s Justin Trudeau. Photo: Reuters/Mark Blinch

Shehab Khan

Justin Trudeau has said he is disappointed after a top minister resigned from his cabinet as the Canadian prime minister was plunged deeper into crisis.

Canada's leader is under increasing pressure after allegations emerged that he pressured the government to drop an investigation into alleged bribes paid by multinational engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to Libya.

Treasury Board president Jane Philpott has resigned, the second minister to step down over a scandal that has shaken the government.

In her resignation letter, she said it was "untenable" for her to continue because she had lost confidence and could not defend the government and its handling of the investigation.

Mr Trudeau said he "understands" Ms Philpott's resignation but is "disappointed" by it. "Concerns of this nature must be taken seriously and I can ensure you I am," he added.

SNC-Lavalin is accused of having paid C$47.7m (€31.6m) in bribes to Libyan officials in order to gain contracts there, and ultimately defrauded the Libyan government of C$129.8m (€86m).

Ms Philpott's friend, former attorney general and justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, testified last week that Mr Trudeau and senior members of his government inappropriately tried to pressure her to avoid prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

The then justice minister refused to drop the investigation, and was later demoted in the cabinet before resigning. (© The Independent, London)

Irish Independent

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