Women turn backs to Trudeau in response to Wilson-Raybould, Philpott decision

Apr 3 2019, 6:58 pm

Dozens of young women turned their backs to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons today, responding to the decision to expel Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott form the Liberal caucus.

The women were delegates for Daughters of the Vote — an event that brings 338 emerging young Canadian women leaders to Ottawa to learn about federal politics.

When Trudeau addressed the group many of them turned their backs to him.

Some women also walked out when Conservative leader Andrew Scheer spoke.

“There is never going to be an absolute one side or another. There are always going to be multiple voices we have to listen to. One of the things we have in an occasion like this, to gather from every corner of the country like this is an opportunity to listen to each other. An opportunity to ask each other questions, an opportunity to figure out the path forward,” said Trudeau, in his speech to the delegation.

He went on to discuss the decision to oust Wilson-Raybould and Philpott from caucus, stating that trust had been broken.

“I know nobody in here wants to have to pick who to believe between Jody-Wilson Raybould and Chrystia Freeland. Nobody wants to know that one person has to be right between Jane Philpott or Maryam Monsef. There are always going to be a range of perspectives that we need to listen to. But ultimately diversity … only works if there is trust. And within a team, when that trust gets broken we have to figure out a way to move forward.”

SNC-Lavalin controversy

Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott both announced they were resigning from Justin Trudeau’s cabinet in February and March, respectively.

Their resignations were regarding the SNC-Lavalin case and whether Wilson-Raybould –the former attorney general — was pressured to drop a criminal prosecution against the multi-billion dollar Quebec engineering firm.

An investigation into the matter was launched in February after Canada’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, agreed to the investigation request from the federal NDP.

Last week, Wilson-Raybould released a secret recording of a conversation she had with Michael Wernick, the former Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada. She said the recording further backed her claims that she had faced pressure from top officials and Trudeau regarding the SNC-Lavalin case.

The now Independent MPs spoke to reporters today and responded to their expulsion.

“We’ve been through obviously some very difficult weeks in the past and speaking for myself I can say that the decisions that I have made, I have made on the basis of what I believe is the best for Canadians to stand up for the truth and to stand up for the independence of the justice system,” said Philpott.

“First of all trust is a two-way street… I think it is… it’s unconscionable to tread over the independence of the prosecutor. It is unconscionable not to uphold the rule of law and I have always maintained that stance. I think it is very alarming that people are focusing on the actual recording of a tape as opposed to the contents of the tape,” said Wilson-Raybould.

“The contents of the tape in my view and in the view of many people who have reached out speak for itself…I recorded that tape. There is nothing illegal about it and I said that in any other circumstance it would be inappropriate. I was protecting myself and I knew that something very dangerous and wrong was going to happen and that my job was at risk.”