After seven weeks of headlines, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not been able to put the SNC-Lavalin controversy behind him. Today, former cabinet minister Jane Philpott accused Trudeau of violating the law by kicking her and former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould out of the Liberal caucus. “Caucus” refers to all members of a particular party who sit in Parliament.
Philpott is asking the speaker to declare their parliamentary privileges were violated based on a set of amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act that were passed in 2015. These amendments require a majority vote of the caucus in order to expel a member. Philpott contends no vote was held before Trudeau ejected them saying the caucus did not trust them anymore. Trudeau responded saying “The will of caucus was very clear but I made the decision.”
Taped conversation criticized by caucus members
Several caucus members complained they had lost confidence in Wilson-Raybould after she revealed she had taped a conversation with the head of the civil service without informing him. The conversation revolved around the SNC-Lavalin case.
Wilson-Raybould said in February 2019 that she was inappropriately pressured by the prime minister and other officials to reconsider a decision to prosecute the engineering firm on fraud and bribery charges. Alternatively, prosecutors could negotiate a remediation agreement involving financial reparations and a promise to adopt corrective measures .
Both she and Philpott resigned from Cabinet over the matter. They continue to speak out on this issue as do opposition leaders and parties.