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“Why does telling the truth get you kicked out of the Liberal party?”

Posted in Featured, Talking Politics

Published on April 10, 2019 with No Comments

“But you have to be able to hold your head high and look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say that the choices that you made were the best ones under the circumstances,”

MPs Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott are now sitting among other Independents in the House of Commons while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had to defend his decision. “It’s very unfortunate that it’s come to this but we have to make difficult choices in politics and we aren’t always in control of all of the things that will happen, and happen to yourself when you’re in politics,” Philpott said, speaking to reporters next to Wilson-Raybould referring to their ouster from the Liberal caucus .  “But you have to be able to hold your head high and look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say that the choices that you made were the best ones under the circumstances,” she added.

Trudeau removed the two women who were once prominent faces on his front bench from the Liberal caucus late Tuesday, saying that the trust between the Liberal team and these two MPs had been “broken” over the course of the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Both had offered additional information or commentary on the matter that Liberal MPs appear to have been unable to reconcile with.

This included Wilson-Raybould secretly recording and then releasing a conversation she had with the clerk of the Privy Council on SNC-Lavalin, and Philpott saying there was more to the story than Trudeau was allowing to be said. Central to the affair are Wilson-Raybould’s allegations that when she was attorney general she faced attempted political interference from senior government officials to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to the Quebec construction giant rather than having its criminal trial continue, out of concern for jobs and the Liberal Party’s political prospects in Quebec. The government has consistently denied any wrongdoing, pointing to the fact that the DPA was not granted. Though, current Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti has not ruled out the possibility of still pursuing a deal with the company that’s facing fraud and corruption charges. Philpott said that while it’s been a “very difficult” few weeks, she defended her choices and decision to stand up for the “truth,” because she believes Wilson-Raybould’s version of events and couldn’t stand by while the rest of cabinet was lining up behind Trudeau’s denial of any wrongdoing. “To say that it’s good enough if something hasn’t broken a law, is a very, very low bar to hold,” she said.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer asked the two ladies,“Why does telling the truth get you kicked out of the Liberal party?” 

Similarly, Wilson-Raybould said that while it has been an “incredibly difficult time,” she will always put her principles first. She also shot back at those who were outraged over the audio recording, something Trudeau called “unconscionable.”

“Trust is a two way street. It is unconscionable to tread over the independence of the prosecutor, it is unconscionable not to uphold the rule of law,” she said, adding that she was alarmed that it seemed more people were concerned about the existence of the tape rather than the contents of it.

“I am, to put it lightly, disappointed,” Wilson-Raybould said, adding that she thinks all MPs could learn something from the 338 delegates involved in the “Daughters of the Vote” event on the Hill. The event, centred on encouraging women entering politics, has underscored all of the political reaction on Parliament Hill over the pair being tossed out of the Liberal fold.

Both said that they are still contemplating their political futures, but for now have a very different view in the Commons, after being relegated to the opposition side of the house in the sixth and final row among other independent MPs.

According to the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, independent members “are seated subject to the discretion of the Speaker in whatever seats are remaining. These Members typically occupy the desks to the left of the Speaker along the back rows, often but not necessarily near the end of the Chamber.”

 

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