At a funding announcement for Canadian tech company Blackberry in Kanata this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced further questions regarding the resignation of former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Responding to questions about the rationale for his cabinet shuffle back in January, which saw Wilson-Raybould moved from her position as AG and Justice Minister to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Trudeau said that the entire shuffle was caused by former Treasury Board President Scott Brison’s sudden retirement.
“If Scott Brison had not stepped down suddenly over the Christmas break, Jody Wilson-Raybould would still be the Attorney General today,” Trudeau said to reporters Friday morning.
To that, the husband of Scott Brison responded: “it’s ok, I usually blame my husband for everything too.”
The Prime Minister also went on to mention that a “wide range of factors” were considered when determining the latest cabinet shuffle.
However, Trudeau denied the speculations from Justice Committee Chair and Liberal MP Anthony Housefather that Wilson-Raybould’s French abilities had played a role in her job change.
Trudeau also took aim at the “racist and sexist comments” that have appeared in various media outlets over the past few days calling them “unacceptable” and condemning them “in strongest possible terms.”
Trudeau was referring to reports that have surfaced recently claiming that Wilson-Raybould was “incompetent” and “difficult” to work with.
The Prime Minister also reiterated his previous claims that he did not “direct” Wilson-Raybould to take any action in the SNC Lavalin case requesting a remediation agreement.
Placing the ball back in Wilson-Raybould’s court, Trudeau said “If the minister or anyone else felt undue pressure, it was their responsibility to come forward. At no time in the Fall did the former Attorney General come forward to me and make those comments.”
Wilson-Raybould resigned from Trudeau’s cabinet on Monday and has taken up the legal council of former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell to advise her on what she is allowed to say on the matter.
Currently, she is still bound by solicitor-client privilege along with cabinet confidentiality, although there may be some wiggle room, according to some experts.
Also of note, after being criticized for referring to Wilson-Raybould by her first name “Jody” while calling other male ministers by their full titles, Trudeau made sure to call her by her full name during this exchange with reporters in Kanata this morning.
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