Crisis deepens as second minister quits

A second high-profile minister has resigned from the cabinet of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, amid a corruption scandal that threatens to destabilize his government ahead of this year’s national election.

Jane Philpott, who had held several portfolios in Trudeau’s cabinet before becoming treasury board president, announced her decision to leave Monday.

In a tweet she said had lost confidence in the government’s handling of an inquiry into allegations that officials linked to Trudeau had pressured a former minister to help Quebec-based construction company SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

“The solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system…. Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised,” she said in her resignation letter.

“There can be a cost to acting on one’s principles, but there is a bigger cost to abandoning them.”

With her resignation she joins Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former minister of justice and attorney general, and Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s former top aide, in stepping down.

Wilson-Raybould initially brought the firestorm around Trudeau’s government, alleging in testimony to the House Justice Committee in February that she faced “veiled threats” and “sustained” pressure from government officials to intervene in a corruption and fraud case against SNC-Lavalin, one of the world’s largest construction and engineering companies.

 

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