The Canadian Prime Minister is unexpectedly caught up in a major corruption scandal that stained his carefully crafted "good boy" image and might topple his premiership. According to testimony by his former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first indigenous woman to hold that position, she was pressured by the government to drop criminal proceedings against the influential Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin engineering company for allegedly bribing Gaddafi-era officials in Libya and allow it to settle out of court through a so-called "deferred prosecution agreement" that was added to the criminal code last year through the efforts of its lobbyists. After repeatedly refusing to do so, she was removed from her post and given a different Cabinet position instead.
The Trudeau Administration claims that it felt obligated to try to save Quebecois jobs after the company indicated that it might leave Canada if it was taken to court and that Wilson-Raybould's reshuffling in his Cabinet was a purely administrative affair and nothing political, though critics believe that the pressure that was placed upon her was entirely political and meant to keep Quebec in the liberal camp ahead of this October's general elections. The high-profile loss of so many skilled jobs might have turned the province towards the Conservatives, or so some are speculating, which might be why Trudeau's team allegedly and unethically interfered in this case. The accusations are startling enough that his close political ally and Treasury Secretary Jane Philpott just resigned earlier this week.
The Prime Minister's "good boy" image as the "perfect" liberal foil to Trump seems to be irreparably ruined regardless of the ultimate outcome of this scandal in spite of him conceding that there are "more questions to be answered" since it's now been revealed by his own Attorney General's testimony that questionable behavior was taking place at the highest levels of his administration. Her and Philpott's resignations also carry the optics of a fledgling political version of the "#MeToo" movement developing in Canada whereby at least one prominent female politician felt so strongly about supporting Wilson-Raybould that she even left her position ahead of this year's elections knowing how negatively it could impact on her party and especially Trudeau personally.
There's no doubt that trouble's brewing up north, but whether or not it'll topple Trudeau's government — let alone through the possible scenario of early elections — is another matter entirely.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Christopher C. Black, international criminal lawyer with 20 years of experience in war crimes and international relations, and a commentator on international affairs.
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