The House

Midweek podcast: How is the Liberal caucus dealing with the SNC-Lavalin affair?

This week, we talk to Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia about what effect the SNC-Lavalin controversy involving the PMO and former attorney general is having on his party's caucus.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office is accused of pressuring the former attorney general to help a company avoid prosecution. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Listen to the full episode14:20

The SNC-Lavalin affair took a few more twists and turns today.

There was an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a vote on whether to hold a public inquiry on the issue and a surprising statement from former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould herself.

The Prime Minister's Office is facing allegations that senior officials pressured Wilson-Raybould, the former attorney general, to intervene in the prosecution of Quebec construction giant SNC-Lavalin to help it avoid going through the court process.

Wilson-Raybould, who was recently shuffled to Veterans Affairs, stepped down from cabinet last week. 

She still hasn't spoken publicly about the matter, saying only that she's bound by solicitor-client privilege as the government's former top lawyer.

The justice committee is doing its own investigation into the matter, and today the Liberals used their majority in the House of Commons to defeat an NDP motion to launch an independent probe of the matter.

Wilson-Raybould abstained from the vote, saying she wouldn't participate "on a matter that has to do with me personally."

She's been more active this week, speaking to her former colleagues in cabinet and attending the Liberal caucus meeting.

On the way into meetings today, Trudeau also stopped to tell reporters he'd apologized to Wilson-Raybould personally for not condemning the "absolutely unacceptable" comments and cartoons about the former justice minister linked to the swelling scandal.

Comments from Liberal insiders quoted in media reports suggested she was difficult to work with in cabinet, and some editorial cartoons on the SNC-Lavalin affair have depicted her bound, gagged or being assaulted by Justin Trudeau.

On today's episode, we ask the chair of the Liberal caucus, Francis Scarpaleggia, what this scandal means for the MPs that form government.


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