Another minister resigns over scandal that threatens Trudeau

Another member of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet has resigned over a scandal that has shaken the government in an election year.

Treasury Board president Jane Philpott, considered a star minister, said in a resignation letter that it was “untenable” for her to continue in the Cabinet because she could not defend the government.

Ms Philpott’s friend, former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, testified last week that Mr Trudeau and senior members of his government inappropriately tried to pressure her to avoid prosecution of a major Canadian engineering company in a case involving allegations of corruption in Libya.

Ms Wilson-Raybould resigned from Cabinet last month after being demoted to veteran affairs minister the month before.

The scandal has rocked Mr Trudeau’s government. Gerald Butts, his closet adviser and best friend, resigned last month and is scheduled to testify on Wednesday before a Parliament justice committee in Mr Trudeau’s defence.

Mr Trudeau has acknowledged raising the issue with Ms Wilson-Raybould, but has said that was appropriate.

Ms Philpott sided with Ms Wilson-Raybould over Mr Trudeau over the matter.

“I have been considering the events that have shaken the federal government in recent weeks and after serious reflection, I have concluded that I must resign as a member of Cabinet,” Ms Philpott wrote.

“Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised.”

Ms Philpott is a former minister of health and minister of indigenous services and was widely viewed as of one of Mr Trudeau’s most competent Cabinet ministers.

“Unfortunately, the evidence of efforts by politicians and/or officials to pressure the former Attorney General to intervene in the criminal case involving SNC-Lavalin, and the evidence as to the content of those efforts have raised serious concerns for me,” Ms Philpott wrote.

“I must abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities and constitutional obligations. There can be a cost to acting on one’s principles, but there is a bigger cost to abandoning them.”

Ms Philpott said she would continue as a Parliament member for Mr Trudeau’s Liberal Party.

- Press Association