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Canadian Minister Resigns After Scandal as Trudeau Government Falters

TORONTO – A leading Cabinet minister in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government resigned Monday, becoming the second minister to step down over a scandal that has shaken the government in an election year, AP reported Tuesday.
Treasury Board President Jane Philpott, said in a letter of resignation that it was “unsustainable” for her to continue in Cabinet because she had lost confidence and could no longer defend herself and the government.
Philpott’s friend, former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, testified last week that Trudeau and senior officials of his government had been trying to lobby inappropriately for her to avoid sue a major Canadian engineering firm in a case of allegations of corruption in Libya.
Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last month after being demoted as Minister of Veterans Affairs the previous month.
The scandal rocked the Trudeau government. Gerald Butts, his secret adviser and best friend, also resigned last month and is scheduled to testify on Wednesday before a parliamentary justice committee in Trudeau’s defense.
“I know Philpott has been feeling this for a while. And even if I’m disappointed, I understand his decision to withdraw. I want to thank her for her service,” said Trudeau at a campaign-like event.
Trudeau says he takes the concerns very seriously and that the issue has generated an important discussion.
“But at the same time, we need to keep the big picture in mind,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau admitted to raising the issue with Wilson-Raybould, but said it was appropriate.
“I concluded that I had to resign as a cabinet member,” wrote Philpott. “Unfortunately, I lost confidence in the way the government handled this case and in its response to the issues raised.”
Philpott, a physician, is a former Minister of Health and Minister of Aboriginal Services. He was widely regarded as one of the most competent ministers in the Trudeau cabinet.
“Evidence of the efforts of politicians or officials to pressure the former Attorney General to intervene in the criminal case involving SNC-Lavalin, as well as evidence of the content of these efforts, has prompted deep concern for me,” wrote Philpott.
“I must respect my fundamental values, my ethical responsibilities and my constitutional obligations. There may be a cost to applying its principles, but it costs more to abandon them. ”
Philpott said she would continue to sit in Parliament for Trudeau’s Liberal Party.
Wilson-Raybould said the same thing last week, but declined to say she trusted Trudeau. Trudeau said Monday he was still deciding whether Wilson-Raybould could remain a member of his party in Parliament.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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