Trudeau takes responsibility for "erosion of trust"


The spotlight in the SNC-Lavalin affair has shifted to rookie Justice Minister David Lametti now that a court has rejected the company's bid to force the public prosecutor to pursue an alternative to criminal proceedings.

"I was not aware of that erosion of trust".

"I will be making an Inuit apology this afternoon", said the prime minister, referring to his upcoming visit to Iqaluit to apologize for government mistreatment of Inuit during tuberculosis epidemics in the mid-20th century.

Goldsmith-Jones also said she felt asking Wilson-Raybould to seek a second opinion on the SNC corruption case was appropriate.

She resigned from cabinet altogether a month after accepting the new post.

The scandal revolves around allegations from Trudeau's former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, claiming his inner circle tried to shield SNC-Lavalin from a bribery trial.

They quoted Trudeau's former principal secretary Gerald Butts' testimony to the House of Commons justice committee the previous day. "The Prime Minister said, "No, no, no-we just need to find a solution", she said. It's not a question of telling the truth versus lying, he suggested.

"The truth can not be experienced differently".

He said he has learned lessons from the case, but did not specify what those lessons were.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to a crowd at Western University's Alumni Hall, January 13, 2017.

"This story matters", Obed said after Trudeau finished fielding media questions.

He continued to claim there was "no inappropriate pressure" placed on the former justice minister to intervene in SNC-Lavalin's criminal prosecution.

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Many Albertans, he noted, feel like the prime minister is "bending over backward" for the Quebec-based company saying jobs are at risk, while western Canada has lost thousands more. "I told her that I was preoccupied with the number of jobs involved in this in Quebec and obviously across the country. This was something I was clear on".

"The role of prime minister is bigger than any one individual, it's bigger than Justin Trudeau himself and if he truly had respect for the office he holds, he would do the right thing and step aside". Trudeau said he asked his staff to follow up after his meeting with her because he believed she was still open to considering new arguments. "I should have been", Trudeau said.

Trudeau said on Thursday that his government had done nothing illegal after accusations of hindering the prosecution of giant Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

"He is young, he learns from his mistakes and I think Canadians will give him the benefit of the doubt", he said.

Ms Wilson-Raybould had the power to scrap the decision to go to trial but decided against it.

Trudeau vowed to do better.

Nathalie Drouin, deputy justice minister and deputy attorney general, also testified.

"As I've said from the very beginning, that is a decision for the attorney general to make alone", he said.

Other Liberal lawmakers have rallied around Mr Trudeau in an election year.

McDougall said he can understand why Trudeau didn't want to apologize. Wilson-Raybould refused, saying that would constitute interference.

Neither responded to a request for comment Thursday.

Liberal MPs Greg Fergus and Celina Caesar-Chavannes have wanted the government to articulate strong messages around supporting Canada's black communities, she added. Conservatives are calling for an inquiry and they are likely to get it. "She said that she would", he said of a September 17, 2018, meeting.