Canadian minister quits as political crisis deepens for Trudeau

Trudeau in ethics probe over handling of Libyan contract fraud

Until, that is, Tuesday's release of her resignation letter, which was delivered "with a heavy heart" but included the acknowledgement many Canadians wish to hear her speak on "matters that have been in the media over the last week".

"I am in the process of obtaining advice on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss on this matter", Wilson-Raybould writes.

In her resignation letter she alludes to the controversy and said she is looking to determine what she can and can't say about it.

Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould quit on Tuesday amid news reports that she was pressured to go easy on a major firm past year when she was justice minister, a development that deepened a political crisis for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just months ahead of an election.

"We urge Mr. Trudeau's team to stop trying to discredit Ms. Wilson-Raybould and to commit to fully cooperate with the Ethic Commissioner's investigation".

"Many Canadians, including Indigenous Canadians, rightfully have questions, and that's why we are working hard on answering them, as I am doing today, highlighting that for folks who are puzzled by Ms. Wilson-Raybould's decision to step down, they can add me to the list, because I am surprised and disappointed". Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion launched an examination Monday into the allegations of political interference after receiving a complaint from the NDP.

A major hiccup in relations with First Nations and the potential for weeks or months of headlines associated with the SNC-Lavalin scandal could hardly come at a worse time for the federal Liberals heading into a election year.

Government insiders have said Wilson-Raybould was involved in internal discussions last fall about whether to instruct the director of public prosecutions to pursue remediation, as is allowed by law, but they've insisted those discussions were not tantamount to pressure.

"... I am concerned about the many unanswered questions about Jody Wilson-Raybould's departure and this is echoed by many First Nations across the country".

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Since then, the relationship between Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould has been headed for the rocks.

Instead, she issued a statement arguing that, as a former attorney general, she was bound by the principle of solicitor-client privilege and thus could not speak at all on the issue. Many were puzzled by the fact that the Prime Minister never clearly explained what she had done to deserve the demotion.

Wilson-Raybould had been Canada's first Indigenous justice minister and the face of Trudeau's commitment to make reconciliation his top priority.

The resignation is the second blow for Trudeau in two days over the affair.

Losing her from cabinet means the government will have to fill the veterans affairs role.

Wilson-Raybould hasn't spoken about those allegations, which could amount to obstruction of justice charges for someone in the PMO.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says Wilson-Raybould's treatment by the federal Liberals will cost them First Nation support.

Conservative Leader Albert Scheer has led the charge to haul Trudeau's aides and top members of his party in front of an emergency meeting of the justice committee for what he calls "unprecedented" attempts at influencing a criminal proceeding.

"The current Liberal brand has been taking a beating on this portfolio", she said.

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