Indian-origin MP demands resignation of Canadian prime minister over SNC-Lavalin bribery case

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The SNC Lavalin case is haunting the ruling Liberal party and the government. According to media reports, Trudeau’s close aides had lobbied former Justice Minister and Auditor General Joy Wilson-Raybould to abandon plans prosecute the Quebec-based engineering company over accusations of fraud and bribery

Newly elected Indian-origin lawmaker Jagmeet Singh on Thursday called for a “national public inquiry” into the alleged SNC-Lavalin bribery case and joined the Opposition in demanding the resignation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The SNC Lavalin case is haunting the ruling Liberal party and the government. According to media reports, Trudeau’s close aides had lobbied former Justice Minister and Auditor General Joy Wilson-Raybould to abandon plans prosecute the Quebec-based engineering company over accusations of fraud and bribery. Instead, they requested her to pursue a deferred prosecution agreement, which allowed the company to pay a fine.

The prime minister has lost the moral authority to govern and must resign, said the 40-year-old New Democratic Party (NDP) leader, who on Wednesday won the by-election to the Canadian Parliament from British Columbia’s the Burnaby South constituency seat.

He joined the Opposition Conservative party leader Andrew Seers to seek the Canadian prime minister’s resignation following a gruelling four-hour non-stop testimony by Wilson-Raybould before parliament’s justice committee.

Terming her testimony as “explosive and incredibly damaging”, the Opposition demanded a through probe into the matter to get to the bottom of the scandal.

In her testimony, Wilson-Raybould said she had faced “intense political pressure and even veiled threats relating to the SC-Lavalin case affairs.”

She said she was warned directly by the prime minister about the possible negative consequences if the company faced any prosecution.

Refuting the charges, Mr. Trudeau said that while he discussed the issue with Wilson-Raybould, he maintained that was “it not inappropriate?”

“We, of course, had discussions about the potential loss of 9,000 jobs in communities across the country, including the potential impact on pensions. My job as Prime Minister has always been to stand up for Canadians and Canadian workers,” he said.

Mr. Trudeau said he and his staff had always acted “appropriately and professionally” in the case.

“Neither I nor any members of my staff had put any pressure on the attorney general to end the criminal prosecution on SNC-Lavalin,” he told a press conference.

Mr. Seers told a press conference that he was “sickened and appalled by Wilson-Raybould’s story of inappropriate and, frankly, borderline illegal pressure brought to bear on her by the highest levels of Trudeau’s government”.

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