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On SNC-Lavalin, Trudeau’s answers only raise more questions

10 March 2019

But Scheer is also waging a daily war on Trudeau's scandal-rocked government, accused of political interference in a criminal case involving Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, leading to the recent resignations of two key cabinet members.

He urged Liberal MPs to "speak truth to power" - a reference to Wilson-Raybould's infamous statement after she was removed as attorney general - and send a signal that Trudeau "is not entitled to be the prime minister of Canada".

He told the justice committee that everyone in the Prime Minister's Office recognized that the decision on whether to intervene was Wilson-Raybould's alone, that there was no improper pressure and that she never raised a complaint about it until after Trudeau told her she was being moved out of her "dream job".

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was to make an appearance in Regina.

The Opposition leader said the Conservatives will, instead, pursue other motions in an effort to hear testimony Jody Wilson-Raybould about her removal as attorney general and her decision last month to leave the federal cabinet. "I said to her that I was preoccupied by the number of jobs involved in this in Quebec and obviously across the country", he said.

But he added that Wilson-Raybould should have been more forthcoming with her concerns.

She later testified to lawmakers that she had received "veiled threats" over her stance - and Trudeau's inner circle came under suspicion.

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Vodafone UK decided against using Chinese technology in the higher risk parts of its network more than five years ago, he added. That followed the Canadian government's announcement Friday that the extradition proceeding would be allowed to continue.

Canada's Federal Court on Friday rejected a bid by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc to challenge a decision by prosecutors to put the construction company on trial on charges of corruption.

A conviction, the company argued, risked crippling its business and putting thousands out of work, as it would be barred for 10 years from bidding for federal work.

Trudeau's comments about protecting jobs at SNC-Lavalin has landed him in even more trouble with western premiers than he already was, said a political expert.

"The decision at issue - whether to invite an organization to enter into negotiations for a remediation agreement - clearly falls within the ambit of prosecutorial discretion and the nature of decisions that prosecutors are regularly called to make in criminal proceedings", she wrote. "Indeed, I expect them to do so", he continued.

"This has been a tough few weeks", the Canadian prime minister said.

The crisis has prompted the resignations of Ms Wilson-Raybould, Treasury Board President Jane Philpott and Mr Trudeau's closest political aide, Gerald Butts.

"That's the difference between Justin Trudeau and me", Scheer told reporters.

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He said he has learned lessons from the case, but did not specify what those lessons were.

She also says when she didn't give in, she was punished by being booted from the justice portfolio in early January.

Trudeau seemed to waffle between referring to jobs he said he was trying to save, and expressing contrition for not paying enough attention to the file soon enough, Sears said.

Marcel Chartrand, a communications professor at the University of Ottawa, is nevertheless optimistic that Trudeau's party and Canadians, in general, will forgive his missteps. "I asked her if she could revisit that decision, if she was open to considering, to looking at it once again, and she said that she would".

If Liberals, who hold a majority in parliament, break ranks, it could trigger snap elections.

The company sought what's called a deferred prosecution agreement.

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On SNC-Lavalin, Trudeau’s answers only raise more questions