Before the fire could settle from the resignation of the first minister, another minister has handed in her papers, dealing a serious blow to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Her reason stated that she has lost all confidence in how the government had handled the escalating political scandal.
Jane Philpott, the recently appointed Treasury Board President, is the member of cabinet to resign. She was the person with overall authority for government spending. This departure will deprive Trudeau of another high ranked female member of cabinet, just months ahead of an election, which by many polls have predicted that he could lose this one.
Philpott stated that she was very unhappy with the way in which the government responded to the allegations that officials inappropriately pressured the then justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in 2018 to assist a major construction company ‘SNC-Lavalin Group Inc’ steer clear of a corruption trial.
Philpott had this to say in her statement, “Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised, I have concluded that I must resign as a member of cabinet.”
The former Treasury President and former Justice Minister are very close friends, the former justice minister, Wilson-Raybould was the first to resign after she was surprisingly demoted in January. Wilson-Raybould is convinced that her refusal to assist SNC-Lavalin was the reason for her demotion.
Head of the official opposition Conservative Party, Andrew Scheer, have repeatedly called for the resignation of Trudeau amid this “ethical rot” which in his view has undermined the rule of law.
Scheer went on to tell reporters that “Jane Philpott’s resignation from cabinet clearly demonstrates a government in total chaos led by a disgraced prime minister consumed with scandal and focused only on his political survival.”
A spokesperson for Trudeau, revealed that the resignation was accepted and the that the matter will be addressed later.
Philpott’s departure is just another setback for prime minister Trudeau, who came into power in 2015 claiming that there will be sunny days ahead, more accountability in the political arena and an increased number of female ministers.
Pollster, Nik Nanos of Nanos Research believes that “what should be worrisome for the Trudeau Liberals is that the two cabinet resignations have been on issues of principle and ethics.”
By email, Nanos reasoned that “the second resignation begs the question – what did happen and could there be more resignations.”
However, there are other members of Trudeau’s government that has decided to remain in the cabinet, for example, Finance Minister, Bill Morneau.
Some serious concerns were raised as Philpott stated that there was evidence of efforts by politicians and officials to pressure Wilson-Raybould. A tweet from Wilson-Raybould to Philpott said ” you are a leader of vision and strength and I look forward to continuing to work alongside you.”
Regarded as one of the best of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers, Philpott, previously held the post of minister of health and minister of indigenous services.
Although there are evident signs of strain, most liberal members of parliament have decided to stay and back Trudeau.
A liberal legislator, not seeking to be re-elected, tweeted that when you add women, you should not expect them to keep to the status quo. It should be expected that they will make the correct decisions, stand up for what they believe in and what is right and to leave when there is a compromise of values.