Trudeau's political crisis grows as another minister quits

The resignation comes over a scandal that has shaken his government in an election year.

Photo: EPA Canada`s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Another member of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet has resigned in protest over accusations that the PM and his aides tried to influence a criminal case against a multinational Canadian company accused of bribing the Libyan government.

The growing political crisis has already cost Trudeau's former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and his top aide Gerald Butts. And on Monday Treasury Board President Jane Philpott said it is "untenable" for her continue to serve in cabinet because she could no longer defend the government as she must  must abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities, constitutional obligations."

“I’ve been considering the events that have shaken the government in recent weeks and after serious reflection, I have concluded that I must resign as a member of cabinet,” said Philpott, who was also a former health minister and minister of Indigenous affairs.

Now, with a federal election looming just seven months away, the Canadian PM must not only salvage his reputation as someone who promised an open approach to politics, but also keep his position as leader of the Liberal Party, which is now at stake and would end his time as prime minister.

On Monday, Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader, repeated his call for Trudeau to step down and called on other cabinet ministers to follow Philpott’s example.

The scandal that has shaken the Canadian government regards to Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin, which is one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies. The firm and two of its subsidiaries face fraud and corruption charges in connection with about $48m in bribes it is alleged to have offered to Libyan officials between 2001-11. The firm has openly lobbied to be allowed to enter into a remediation agreement instead of going to trial since a conviction could result in a decade-long ban on bidding on Canadian federal contracts, which would be a major financial blow to the firm.

And just last week Former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould testified that Trudeau himself and senior members of his government inappropriately tried to pressure her to avoid prosecution of the Canadian engineering company despite allegations of corruption in Libya.

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