Wednesday , January 27 2021

Liberals consider an urgent meeting to decide whether to drop Wilson-Raybould, Philpott from caucus

Some Liberal MPs are pushing for an emergency meeting to decide whether Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott should be kicked out of caucus to include a SNC-Lavalin scandal.

The Liberal Caucus executive held a Sunday evening conference call. No formal decision or announcement has been made about a meeting across the notice, which may occur as early as tonight.

There is a growing sense in the Liberal caucus that the previous two cabinet ministers are damaging the Liberal brand, and that the fact that knowledge of the SNC-Lavalin relationship remains slow makes it harder for MEPs to have them. re-election.

That concern intensified on Friday when the Commons justice committee announced a new presentation by Wilson-Raybould: a long written statement, copies of emails and text messages and a 17-minute audiotape of a conversation he held with the clerk of the Council, Michael Wernick.

Wilson-Raybould recorded a December 19 telephone call in confidence, explaining that she expected an “inappropriate” conversation and that she did not have a member of staff present to take notes.

St John's MP, Nick Whalen, the chairman of the Liberal Atlantic, said he would not comment on caucus discussions because they were confidential.

It was "frightening" to learn that a minister had secretly recorded a conversation with the clerk of the Privy Council and then kept it confidential, rather than to share it with the prime minister as evidence that it was feel excessive pressure from people at the highest levels of government to allow SNC-Lavalin to avoid criminal trial on bribery charges.

'Really seedy';

"It's all very annoying and really salty," Whalen told CBS News.

Although many Liberal MPs were concerned about the SNC-Lavalin relationship which affected their electoral prospects, Whalen said that his constituents had mixed views about recent developments. He said that he believed Canadians were now "enthralled" by the play that included the relationship between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and two former ministers who were at one time friends and allies to him – though he was see the relevant issue as one of the political oversight of judicial institutions.

Toronto's Liberal MP Rob Oliphant said he would like to see the issue resolved before a regular Wednesday warning meeting so members can focus their time and energy on legislative and policy issues. significant.

He said it was "disturbing" that a minister would be a hidden tape chatting to the country's highest bureaucracy and describing Wilson-Raybould's words as "scripted," "staging" and "almost" as an attempt to attract the clerk. "

Oliphant said that unless the two daughters expressed full confidence in the prime minister and the government, they had to leave.

Confidence in government

"My hope is that caucus will move quickly and I suspect that from one mind we don't want people in the caucus who lack confidence in our government," he told CBC News Network.

If the Liberal caucus meets later today, the Prime Minister would probably not have Trudeau, who held events with the President of Israel who visited Reuven Rivlin.

The Conservatives have labeled Trudeau as a "false feminist" over his dealings with an issue involving two women holding senior positions in his cabinet.

But one MP – who asked not to be identified because of caucus confidentiality – insists that sex is not a problem here.

"This isn't about two women. This is about two members of the team and how they choose to behave in public," said the MP. He added that there was a feeling of "growing anger" within caucus among MPs who believed that Wilson-Raybould and Philpott made it difficult to move forward with the government agenda.

Redundancy concerns

The Liberal government has been in a crisis mode since the Globe and Mail reported on February 7 that Wilson-Raybould has suffered intense pressure to intervene in criminal prosecution SNC-Lavalin, an engineering and construction company in Montreal sy & # 39 employed 9,000 people across the country.

Wilson-Raybould at the justice committee testified that she faced ongoing pressure and hidden threats from various officials in the PMO and elsewhere in government. Others have told the committee that those officials were only passing on to Wilson-Raybould the message that a large number of jobs could be at risk if the company didn't get a recovery agreement to avoid a criminal prosecution.

A conviction would mean that the company could face a 10 year ban on a bid for federal contracts.

The Conservatives have accused the Liberals of trying to whitewash the scandal by closing the House of Commons justice inquiry prematurely and stopping study by House of Commons ethics committee.

The Conservatives began a 31-hour marathon at the House of Commons in protest, and have pledged to use "all instruments in the parliamentary aid package" to hold the government to account.

Today, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said he would delay an essential debate on the Liberal budget by holding a filibuster, a lengthy speech in House of Commons which can last several hours.

"We don't accept his oppression," he said.

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