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Prime Minister has lost trust

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on March 15, 2019 with No Comments

Jane Philpott’s resignation was the second high-profile exit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet since SNC-Lavalin scandal came to light, that was brought forth first by Globe and Mail. Former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, resigned from her cabinet position as veteran affairs minister on Feb. 12 putting serious allegations against prime minister Justin Trudeau and other senior government officials. While tending resignation Jane Philpott expressed her unhappiness by stating “the solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system.”  She in a way reflected the declining confidence of many Canadians that the Members of Parliament have the ability left in them to act in the best interest of the public. Canadians particularly aren’t particularly happy with Prime Minister Trudeau for allegedly trying to interfere with the investigation into SNC-Lavalin. Opinion polls too are showing that a majority of Canadians feel that it is enormously unethical to pressure an attorney general to drop criminal charges against a prominent lobbyist, and when the attempt fails create a situation for her exit. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not letting her speak and now there is a demand from the opposition that he must lift the “gag order” and let Jody Wilson-Raybould speak the full truth about her decision to leave cabinet. If this doesn’t firm, the impression that the SNC-Lavalin controversy has exposed a crisis of moral and ethical leadership in Prime Minister Trudeau’s office will only get more firm in the minds of the Canadians.  Prime Minister Trudeau last week got an opportunity to explain and express the stand of his government. Prime minister was supposed to put the issue to rest at this press conference. But he was far away from the target. He conceded that he asked former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould last September to re-examine her decision not to grant SNC-Lavalin a plea bargain that would allow it to avoid a criminal conviction for bribery and corruption. His claim that he had no idea that Wilson-Raybould felt that she was being unduly pressured by him and his staff to change her mind, didn’t go well with the Canadians. If he didn’t want the investigation to take a different path, why did he interfere in the case? He tried to take a rescue and blamed the whole thing on poor communications and what he called an erosion of trust between his office and Wilson-Raybould. While doing so, he forgot that blaming others for your bad decisions is immature. He said, in effect, that this was the fault of his former principal secretary Gerry Butts, and confessed that he had no idea that situation were so bad despite acknowledging that after his after his initial September meeting with Wilson-Raybould, he ordered his staff to keep talking to her about the SNC-Lavalin decision.  Yet, he said, he failed to understand that she viewed this as pressure. By stating so, the confidence of not only Canadians but also of his caucus members is eroded. When Parliament returns next week, the Liberals would try their best to avoid the issue and the tabling of the budget may only provide a temporary relief that too for not long. Liberals would want discussion on soft topics like employment, deficit etc. However, the problem is likely to be compounded for Prime Minister Trudeau, as there are some restless MPs within the Liberal party. Some are openly critical of the Prime Minister and if he can’t discipline them, Prime Minister could be in a real trouble.

 

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