The Current

Trudeau tried doing politics differently by not expelling former ministers sooner, says columnist

Our political panel takes stock of the latest twists and turns through Canada's corridors of power, today looking at the ousting of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus.

Former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott were ousted from caucus Tuesday

The SNC-Lavalin controversy has dogged the prime minister and the Liberal party since early February. (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)

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After almost two months of controversy over the SNC-Lavalin affair, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expelled Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus Tuesday. 

But while some critics argue that a different prime minister would have ejected the former ministers much sooner, a political columnist argues that Trudeau knew exactly what he was doing.

"Trudeau, in his own way, believes that he did politics differently by letting this go on so long, and letting them stay in caucus," Susan Delacourt, the Ottawa bureau chief with the Toronto Star, told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

Speaking Tuesday, Trudeau said the trust between the party and the two former ministers had been irreparably broken.

The controversy began in February, with allegations that the Prime Minister's Office pressured Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the case of SNC-Lavalin, which the prime minister denies.

Trudeau throws Wilson-Raybould and Philpott out of Caucus

5 years ago
Duration 0:34
Featured VideoPrime Minister Justin Trudeau told Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott they can no longer sit as Liberal MPs

Delacourt said that the prime minister seemed aware of criticism that "a Jean Chrétien or a Stephen Harper" wouldn't have allowed the former ministers to stay so long.

"Trudeau sort of glancingly referred to that when he said: look, I have tried to be patient, I have tried to be understanding," she said. 

To discuss the ousting of the former ministers, and how the SNC-Lavalin affair could affect the election:

  • Katie Simpson, senior reporter with CBC News.
  • Mia Rabson, energy and environment reporter on Parliament Hill for the Canadian Press.
  • Susan Delacourt, national columnist and Ottawa bureau chief with the Toronto Star.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Produced by Idella Sturino and John Chipman.