Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer called on Trudeau to resign on Wednesday after a former justice minister claimed that Canadian government officials had inappropriately pressured her to help a major engineering company avoid a bribery trial, Presstv Reported.
Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould told Canada’s House of Commons justice committee that senior staff in Trudeau’s office had made consistent efforts to dissuade her from prosecuting construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. accused of bribing Libyan officials to obtain multi-billion dollar contracts.
Wilson-Raybould said in a testimony to the justice committee that the pressure on her included “veiled threats” if she declined to acquiesce.
“I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada in an inappropriate effort,” she said in her statement.
Wilson-Raybould also said she had been “barraged” and subjected to “hounding” by members of the Canadian government.
No one was publicly named.
Following the allegations leveled by Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s main opposition party leader demanded the resignation of what he called a disgraced prime minister.
“Justin Trudeau can no longer hide the fact that he was at the center of an attempt to interfere in a criminal prosecution. He must come clean with Canadians,” Scheer told reporters before the testimony.
“He can no longer, with a clear conscience, continue to lead this nation,” he added, calling for police to immediately probe the matter.
The scandal is expected to deal a blow to Trudeau just months ahead of an October election in which his Liberal Party faces a tough fight.
Trudeau and his government officials have dismissed the allegations but the case forced the resignation of Trudeau’s principal private secretary, Gerald Butts, earlier this month.
Trudeau rejects calls to step down
Meanwhile, the Canadian premier rejected the opposition call for his resignation on Wednesday, insisting that he and his staff had always acted appropriately.
“I strongly maintain, as I have from the beginning, that I and my staff always acted appropriately and professionally,” Trudeau told a televised news conference in Montreal.
“I therefore completely disagree with (Wilson-Raybould’s) characterization of events,” he added, brushing off the demand from Scheer that he step down.