May 20, 2019

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Trudeau’s Political Woes Mount With Demands for More Inquiries

Trudeau’s Political Woes Mount With Demands for More Inquiries
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On Thursday, Mr. Trudeau rejected Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s assertion that government officials’ talks with her were improper “political interference” delivered with “veiled threats.”

“Canadians expect their government to look for ways to protect jobs, to grow the economy, and that’s exactly what we’ve done every step of the way,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters in Montreal. “But we’ve also done it in a way that has respected our laws and respected the independence of the judiciary.”

Mr. Trudeau predicted that the justice committee, which is controlled by his Liberal Party, and the ethics commissioner, whose role largely limits him to monitoring potential conflicts of interest, will vindicate him.

But several analysts said Mr. Trudeau may find it difficult to avoid an independent inquiry.

“While the government doesn’t want to subject itself to weeks of intense scrutiny, not opening it up looks very bad,” said Emmett Macfarlane, an associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

“If this drags out,” he added, “how do they avoid a process that has the potential to conclude that this is something shady that happens behind the scenes all the time?”

John Duffy, a former adviser in a previous Liberal government, pointed out that although Ms. Wilson-Raybould, who also served as attorney general, accused Mr. Trudeau and his aides of acting improperly, she acknowledged in her testimony that no one pressuring her about SNC-Lavalin broke any laws and specifically assured Canadians that the judicial system was not broken.

“I’m not trying to make it out that this was a civics textbook example of how things should work out,” Mr. Duffy said, adding that in the end Ms. Wilson-Raybould did not give the company a break and the prosecution had continued.

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