Resignation scandal mars Trudeau's shiny image

FT News


Trudeau swept into power in Canada in two thousand fifteen championing equality, openness and social Justice, but the resignation of his attorney general who will let's shoot face pressure to go easy on one of the country's biggest companies in corruption case has dented this image. Nikki Zena discusses the case in what it means for Trudeau in the liberal party with Ravi, Matt and Amy Williams. Amy, tell us first about the company involved. SNC lavaman will the company has a few things, but bowling engineering company that works mainly with mining and energy services. So in this case, it's been accused of bribing Libyan officials around the time when he was in power. This is not as I brush with bribery, allegations the World Bank, actually, blacklisted its main subsidiary from bidding on projects and its own global corruption policy and that happened in two thousand thirteen over a project. It was worth on in Bangladesh. The key thing about the company in the stories that employs around nine thousand people across Canada. Most of those are in Quebec, which is the home for just intruders constituency in Montreal what was the attorney general's involvement, which Wilson rape, bogey Torney general. She was in a position to come up with the prosecution agreement with the company that would basically have seen him set. Lots of court avoiding huge find so base. Would have paid some money but being allowed to keep trading and avoid the court fees and big legal costs that would put them out of business. And who does she say put her under pressure to agree to a deferred prosecution agreement and why did she end up resigning? Well, she said that it was several people in Mr. Trudeau's government specifically in his office, and including Mr. shooter himself and Khushi his top advisor, Gerald books. Her resignation is a bit murky and a little unclear but what we do know is that shortly before she resigned, Mr. Trudeau effectively demoted her in a cabinet reshuffle and this caused quite a bit of upset. She initially refused to take the first portfolio that she was offered. So she was attorney general and Justice minister, Mr. to try to move her to indigenous services, which she climbed she eventually ended up at veterans affairs, and she shortly afterwards resigned. What has Mr. Trudeau said about this mister Suto and also his adviser Mr. buck who gave testimony to the Canadian House of Commons. Have both said that they did not try to force miss was able to make any kind of decision. They just asked her the independent advice and get a second opinion on her decision because they thought it was really important case lots of jobs are at stake. Mr. Trudeau has insisted he spoke to journalists day after Mr Bush gave testimony he insisted. That he was only ever trying to defend jobs as all he's ever tried to do and nine thousand jobs is really quite a lot of jobs to be lost. I know you've been wanting to hear from me directly on the SNC Lebanon issue. I've taken time to review the testimony to reflect on what has happened over the past months and on what our next steps should be. What has become clear through the various testimonies is that over the past months? There was an erosion of trust between my office. And specifically my former principal secretary and the former minister of Justice and attorney general I was not aware of that erosion of trust does prime minister and leader of the federal ministry. I should've been in regards to standing up for jobs and defending the integrity of our rule of law. I continue to say that there was no inappropriate pressure. Bearing in mind that elections are coming up in October. How has this all gone down with Canadian voters rudely, they don't like it? This Troodos popularity has taken a hit. And it's not looking all that good for him the elections approach. However in Quebec the province. Montreal is people are less bothered about this. And actually his popularity's is kinda held up in Quebec, they're a little more sympathetic to the view that jobs were at stake around three thousand of those nine thousand jobs in Quebec. And they are less unhappy with MRs Troodos alleged actions. Ravi you've written that Mr. Trudeau is partly to blame for setting impossibly high standards. Can you explain what you mean? Yeah. I mean, there's a couple of things there. I think first of all what needs to go back and understand why he won and how he won the election in two thousand thirteen to become prime minister, we need to remember that Mr. wasn't actually expected to win. He was in third place turning to other party leaders and play the Blinder in the campaign and suddenly became. Came prime minister with a massive majority. And I think the first mistake they made was to misunderstand their mandate. They thought the massive majority meant they had licensed to invoke a massive program of change in fact, because they went by surprise by good fortune in that voters had got fed up with the incumbent Stephen Harper. They didn't realize there was a bit of a delicate balance to achieve their the second bit was they one of the back of a progressive agenda. Mr. Trudeau had a great brand he sold himself as a modern politician whose advertising a more kind a more gentle immoral open way of governing and dean with politics rather than the very fractious way. Things are done in many other places including at times in Canada. But by holdings of that standard. He also needs to meet that Senator in government now for the first few years that kind of words he did very well on certain policy issues. He accepted twenty five thousand Syrian refugees into the country from the war, which is a very popular mid both within Canada and in June. Nationally, but further into government, he made some missteps party. I would argue because of the hubris I came with that stunning election victory. First of all he started to do things that flew in the face of that cleaner than clean impression. He was giving for example in twenty-six fell foul of ethics rules for taking a private family holiday on the private island of the con, the billionaire religious leaders not only did that contravene the rules in place for politicians. But it just looked really bad. It looked very elitist. When he told the world that he was anything. But similarly in terms of the people who put in place around him, Amy mentioned Gerald butts who's as close as adviser, but Mr. bus was also his best friend. They know each other for thirty years they met at McGill University and invariably when you put your best friend in your office as your closest advisor, even the smartest person in the world will find it impossible to separate the personal and the professional. And that was certainly impression given and that chumminess once again went to undercut pretty severely, the progressive agenda that open of politics that he advertised when he campaigned for office, and indeed nearly years of his tenure so you've already touched on this a bit, but looking towards the next election, and how he starting to campaign now, what would you say are has notable achievements, and what are his failures while a couple of things. I mean, he has achieved things I talked with the Syrian refugee policy. He's also legalized cannabis which was a big campaign promise of his and he certainly tried to create a different impression of how poses can be done. But if you count all the things where he failed in the city meet the targets, he said, they include reforming the electoral system. He hasn't done that finding a way of building a pipeline from the oil signs of northern Alberta to the Pacific coast of BC. He has done that reconciling relations with indigenous populations. He hasn't achieved that so they're a litany of these things where he set. Very vicious goals, and he just didn't achieved. And so I think unfortunately, while he has made some serious achievements. Such as renegotiate NAFTA agreement with Donald Trump. They're also number failures that his opponents will hold against them. And how well placed is Canada's opposition to capitalize on Mr. Trudeau's weaknesses. Well, go into the election. I think that's one of actually his advantages. So eighty mentioned that Mr. Trudeau's poll numbers of taking a hit. And yet the liberal government the liberal party, which he leads still is more or less neck and neck with the obstinate conservatives, and I think one of the things that he has to best advantage is the fact that his opposition rivals are relatively new leaders in their own, right? And they suffer from their own credibility issues. So Andrea sherr of the conservatives and the leftist NDP's Jagmeet Singh are both quite noon to the job. And they too are having some issues around trying to prove to the public that there are credible alternative. So in terms of how well the opposition can capitalize on it. They're doing the best to make sure this as in the news there. Making sure that it's very hard for the government to talk about anything else. Every press conference at happens invariably, the tension terms to this topic around the essence see Lebanon scandal and the resignation so it's very hard to change the Genda. However, the weakness of the opposition does give Mr. to who remains a very charming character and someone who can certainly connect with people gives them a plausible chance going into the election. So Amy what happens with the SNC level in case after this? We could you will rape with decision was not offer the prosecution agreement which means they have to go to trial. So there's already a hearing underway and a criminal trial will probably happen within an ear. Yes. Data what AB said, although wasn't able to make sure this is going to trawl from what it seems the political stray hasn't ended a lot of pressure on the top civil servant in Canada. Who's also been drawn into the affair and his role there further questions the opposition is raising about whether they'll process of how cases like this handled is inappropriate. And whether in fact. An independent third party should Judy Kate over the process. So the politics is obviously very strong and carrying on. And the opposite is gonna do their best to make sure this stays in the headlines. And of course, our media colleagues are watching very closely in Canada too.

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