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PM again stops short of apologizing for ethical breach in SNC-Lavalin affair, despite renewed pressure

Last Updated Aug 15, 2019 at 11:00 am PDT

Jane Philpott listens to a questions during a news conference in Ottawa on Jan. 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Jane Philpott says Justin Trudeau should apologize after the ethics commissioner's damning report, released on Wednesday

The ethics commissioner concluded the prime minister breached the Conflict of Interest Act in the SNC-Lavalin affair

Philpott says the people of Canada still 'deserve an apology'

OTTAWA — Former Liberal cabinet minister turned Independent MP Jane Philpott says the people of Canada still “deserve an apology” from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the SNC-Lavalin affair.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Philpott says since the ethics commissioner found Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act, “that is one of the things” he should apologize for.

Commissioner Mario Dion’s report concluded that Trudeau “contravened” Section 9 of the act by “using his position of authority over Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould to seek to influence her decision.”

Related article: ‘Everyone’s going to use this,’ political scientist says of findings into SNC-Lavalin affair

Following the release of the report, Trudeau said on Wednesday that he takes full responsibility for the SNC-Lavalin affair, but refused to apologize for what he called standing up for Canadian jobs, which he said is what Canadians expect him to do.

He reiterated that claim in New Brunswick a day later.

“That’s my job, to make sure that Canadians, and communities, and pensioners, and families across the country are supported,” he said on Thursday. “I disagree with the ethics commissioner’s conclusions, but he is an officer of parliament, he’s doing his job, and I fully accept his report, which means I take full responsibility.”

Philpott, however, says that’s not why Canadians want to hear him say he’s sorry.

Related article: SNC-Lavalin faces renewed questions over future following bombshell report

She is seeking re-election in the federal riding of Markham—Stouffville as an Independent while former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, the central player in the controversy, is doing the same in the B.C. riding of Vancouver Granville.

Philpott says she took a stand based on principle because she believes her constituents wanted her to uphold the highest ethical standard and she welcomes the “validation” in the ethics commissioner’s report.