National Newswatch

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Feb 18 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau's Liberal government was rocked Monday by the resignation of his principal secretary, Gerald Butts, amid allegations that the Prime Minister's Office interfered to prevent a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The departure of the prime minister's most trusted aide comes just eight months before a federal election. Butts was expected to play as big a role in […]

Wilson-Raybould snubbed Senate committee on corporate corruption bill

Feb 15 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould angered senators by refusing to give testimony on a change to the Criminal Code that is now at the centre of allegations that she was improperly pressured to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. The Criminal Code amendment was stuffed into an omnibus budget implementation bill last year and […]

Liberals agree to only limited hearings on Wilson-Raybould affair

Feb 13 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Liberals faced accusations of a coverup Wednesday after they agreed to hold limited committee hearings into an allegation that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was improperly pressured to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. Their short list of three proposed witnesses does not include Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from cabinet Tuesday. The five Liberal MPs on […]

Trudeau says he’s surprised, puzzled by Wilson-Raybould’s resignation

Feb 12 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "surprised and disappointed" by Jody Wilson-Raybould's resignation Tuesday from his cabinet — one day after he'd touted her continuing presence there as proof she hadn't been improperly pressured to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. If she had been pressured, Trudeau said, she had an obligation to raise her […]

PM asserts full confidence in Wilson-Raybould amid ethics investigation

Feb 11 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed Monday an investigation by the federal ethics commissioner into an allegation that his office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. And while she has fuelled the controversy by refusing to comment on the allegation, Trudeau said he continues to have "full confidence" in Wilson-Raybould, whom he […]

Internal discussions on SNC-Lavalin prosecution included Wilson-Raybould

Feb 8 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was involved in extensive, internal government discussions last fall about whether SNC-Lavalin should be allowed to avoid criminal prosecution — and government officials maintain there's nothing wrong with that. They argue the discussions were all perfectly within the law and, indeed, the government would have been remiss not to […]

Not much Elections Canada can do about fake news spread about candidates

Feb 7 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canada's chief electoral officer says there's not much his independent agency can do to counter fake news circulated about a candidate in the midst of an election. Stephane Perrault told a House of Commons committee Thursday there are some "minimal rules" that cover impersonation of parties, candidates or Elections Canada officials and some limited forms of […]

Scott Brison bids farewell to House of Commons, announces resignation date

Feb 6 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Scott Brison was feted Wednesday as a trailblazer for gay rights as he announced his intention to retire from federal politics this weekend. Brison — who made history as Canada's first openly gay cabinet minister and again as the first federal politician to marry his same-sex partner —  announced that Sunday will be his last day as the […]

Chief electoral officer worries parties are weak link in cybersecurity chain

Feb 4 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canada's chief electoral officer is "pretty confident" that Elections Canada has good safeguards to prevent cyberattacks from robbing Canadians of their right to vote in this year's federal election. But Stephane Perrault is worried that political parties aren't so well equipped. "They don't have access to the resources we have access to," Perrault said in an interview Monday, […]

Five top public servants to warn of major meddling with next federal election

Jan 30 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — An impartial group of senior bureaucrats will warn Canadians if malicious actors try to manipulate the outcome of this fall's federal election. The Trudeau government announced the "critical election incident protocol" on Wednesday as part of a series of new measures aimed at ensuring a fair election on Oct. 21, free from malign foreign interference. Under […]

Scheer warns of unaffordable tax increases if Liberals re-elected

Jan 27 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canadians will pay more taxes if the Liberals are re-elected, Andrew Scheer warned Sunday as he rallied his Conservative troops for the last sitting of Parliament before an election this fall. The Conservative leader issued that rallying cry at the close of a three-day meeting with his MPs and nominated candidates — ostensibly held to prepare for […]

Trudeau acknowledges global turmoil is making Canadians anxious, fearful

Jan 18 2019 — Joan Bryden — SHERBROOKE, Que. — Justin Trudeau acknowledged Friday that Canadians are anxious about the upheavals occurring around the globe — with Canada recently seeming to have become the world's favourite punching bag. The prime minister insisted the best way to allay those fears is to stick to his government's plan for improving the lot of middle-class Canadians. But those anxieties could make […]

Legault lays out Quebec demands for federal leaders facing fall election

Jan 17 2019 — Joan Bryden — SHERBROOKE, Que. — Quebec Premier Francois Legault laid out a shopping list of demands Thursday that he expects party leaders to address as they woo voters in his province during the coming federal election campaign. "I won't support any federal party," Legault said after a private meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of a […]

Lametti appointment raises hope for less restrictive assisted dying law

Jan 16 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The appointment of David Lametti as Canada's new justice minister has given new hope to those who believe the Trudeau government's law on medically assisted dying is too restrictive. Lametti was one of just four Liberal MPs who voted against the government's 2016 legislation that made it legal for incurably ill Canadians to get medical help to […]

Montreal MP Lametti becomes justice minister as Trudeau shuffles cabinet

Jan 14 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejigged his cabinet Monday, adding two new faces and a new portfolio — and rewarding competence and friendship. However, it was his decision to move Jody Wilson-Raybould that was all the talk in political circles, despite Trudeau's insistence that her shift from the senior justice portfolio to the junior veterans affairs post was not a demotion. […]