Loading articles...

Cabinet shuffle expected Friday; MPs hold emergency SNC-Lavalin debate

Last Updated Feb 28, 2019 at 11:10 pm PDT

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Three sources confirm Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be shuffling his cabinet tomorrow, following yesterday’s explosive testimony by former Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould on the SNC-Lavalin affair.

This happened as MPs held an emergency debate following her testimony that went all day, and late into the night.

RELATED: Jody Wilson-Raybould says she was pressured, got veiled threats on SNC-Lavalin

The shuffle will be small and involve only a handful of ministers.

The Ministers involved have been asked to stay in Ottawa instead of heading back to their ridings for the 2 week break period of the House of Commons.

Two of the sources confirm that this shuffle is internal only, with no new faces to cabinet.

Wilson-Raybould has suggested she was removed from her position as AG, and moved to the Ministry of Veterans Affairs because of her stance on SNC-Lavalin. She alleges she was pressured by the PMO to halt criminal prosecution against the company.

During her testimony at the committee, she explained why she resigned from cabinet: “I resigned from cabinet because I did not have confidence to sit around the table.”

Conservatives, Liberals calling for Trudeau’s resignation, public inquiry

Meanwhile, opposition members like Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen are describing the dire situation the government is in.

“We are at a crisis, at the very heart of our democracy,” she says.

The Liberals were on the defensive during the emergency debate, with Conservatives calling for Trudeau’s resignation, and the NDP asking for a public inquiry.

“I have truly lost confidence in this Prime Minister and this government,” said Michael Chong, Conservative MP for Wellington-Halton Hills. “I have been shaken to my core about what I heard yesterday at the justice committee. It is almost too much to digest in a 24-hour period, but I know one thing, this Prime Minister should resign.”

Murray Rankin, MP for Victoria, said Wilson-Raybould’s testimony was convincing.

“I was there — I’m the vice chair of the committee — and I say to Canadians: watch it, you’ll believe it.” he says.

But the Liberal parliamentary secretary and Parkdale-High Park MP Arif Virani, was focused on the part of Wilson-Raybould’s testimony that exonerated the Prime Minister of any legal wrongdoing.

“What I heard was this: I heard that the Prime Minister instructed the former Attorney General that it was her decision to make. I heard the PMO staff say they didn’t want to cross any lines,” he said. “I heard the former Attorney General say it is appropriate to discuss job impacts. I heard her say that nothing unlawful occurred. I heard her say that she was never directed. And, most importantly — and I will return to this again and again — she said that the state of our institutions, the rule of law, and the independence of prosecutions is in tact. ”

But Bergen seemed shocked to hear her testimony being described that way.

“Anybody who watched that testimony would never, ever characterize it in the way that that member just characterized it,” she said, referring to what Virani had said. “His characterization just was that she basically said ‘yeah, there was no problem, the Prime Minister said it was my decision, the staff said they weren’t trying to pressure me, and it was all good.’ That sure wasn’t the testimony I heard.”

MPs questioned why Wilson-Raybould was not allowed to speak about what happened after she stepped down from her position, and ramped up calls for a public inquiry.

Next week, the justice committee will hear from Trudeau’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts who resigned last week. The Privy Council clerk and Deputy Minister of Justice will also testify again.