The treatment of former Justice minister and Attorney-General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, was ham-handed and raised doubts about the competence of Trudeau and his advisers and of possible conflict on interest and interfering in the in a legal matter, involving fraud and corruption charges against S N C- Lavalin and whether they sought and were prtomised special treatment.
Jody Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of her position of Justice minister and placed in the of Veterans Affairs minister, a clear demotion. When she was selected as Justice minister, it was seen as a strong message to the First Nations and as a sign that Trudeau was determined to keep his promise to deal with the on an equal basis. She was the first of her people to hold that most senior position and was celebrated by First Nations and most Canadians.
She did a good enough job in the three years she was there and Trudeau commended her. She was very firm about maintaining the independence and integrity of the office of Attorney-General and to ensure that the Judiciary and the Rule of Law was kept free from political pressure and influence and for this she was removed, when she did not play ball with the P M O 's wish to go easy with S N C.
What happened? S N C was up on charges of fraud and corruption and they tried to use their position as a Quebec-based engineering behemoth to lobby the government to not take them to criminal trial but instead to allow a plea bargain ....known as a deferred prosecution agreement.
This agreement had been put in place in the 500+ page 2018 budget ( a non-money measure stuck in the last pages to avoid scrutiny), after the firm had met and lobbied the Prime Minister's Office on more than a dozen times ( they have also donated much to the Liberals and recently was charged and convicted for illegal donations, through employees). It was a sweetheart deal, which would allow for plea bargaining but no criminal charges, which would be financially detrimental ( S N C-Lavalin had already been suspended from bidding on World Bank projects for 10 years because of previous conviction of corruption/bribery.
According to the Globe and Mail, the P M O was putting pressure on Wilson-Raybould to intervene with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, who was proceeding with criminal charges against S N C. They wanted her to take over the file but she refused and was then shuffled out of Justice and a new amenable David Lametti ( and it would seem from his recent comments ).
Trudeau kept Wilson-Raybould in the Cabinet as Veterans Affairs minister. This is interesting for two reasons. One, it would show that while he was not satisfied with her performance as Justice minister he still had confidence in her ability, albeit in a minor position but more importantly, two, she as a member of the Cabinet will be a team player and play along.
She did not and resigned after Trudeau claimed he met her twice in B.C. and that he had " full confidence" in her.
As Justice minister, Wilson-Raybould was bound by the cabinet principles of Individual and Collective Responsibility ( as I used to tell my students, it is like the code of the 3 musketeers of " all for one and one for all") and were important for Cabinet Unity and Solidarity, crucial in getting things done. But as Attorney General, she is responsible to ensure the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary and of the Rule of Law. She had to make a decision and she decided that her position of Attorney General was more important ( as she stated in her blog letter after her removal).
Her action has completely shaken Trudeau and he came out flailing, attacking and blaming her and claiming that he did not " direct" her and neither did anyone else. He knows that she cannot defend herself, being bound by the Official Secrets Act and by client privilege, from which he has so far refused to free her. Also his " minions" are out whispering about being " arrogant', " sel-centered", " untrustworthy", " difficult to get along with" .
The Commons Justice committee made up of a majority of Liberals has met and refused to summon Wilson-Raybould or Butts or Telford etc. even as the Conservatives and N D P call for this. The Liberal's "trained seals" have voted against the " attack dogs".
The Ethics Commissioner ( appointed by the Liberals) is expected to investigate, but this will take months and beyond the next election, so this does not help.
Meanwhile in Quebec, where, the company is located and where the political class supports it ( pride and jobs), S N C is facing a new R C M P probe on its contract to refurbish the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
Trudeau is under intense pressure, not only to come clean but also to allow Wilson-Raybould to testify. He will dither and blame but ultimately will have to allow her to tell her story as more and more people are coming to her defense , Native groups ( who accuse her accusers of " perpetuating colonial-era sexist stereotypes that indigenous women cannot be powerful, forthright and steadfast in positions of power, but rather confrontational, meddling and egotistic), and women's group are also voicing their concerns and at least one cabinet minister, Philpot has signal her support and one Liberal M P.
Trudeau who has shown that he is impetuous and shortsighted,( more style than substance), is now being exposed as vindictive and hypocritical.