HIGHLIGHTS: Justin Trudeau responds to SNC-Lavalin testimonies

Whether Justin Trudeau's government will be strengthened- or whether it can recover- from the scandal is very much an open question

TORONTO | There's no money, no sex and nothing illegal happened.

Everything that Mr. Trudeau described about the relationship between a minister and a prime minister, or a minister and others in government, is correct - except when the minister is the attorney-general.

The ex-justice minister and attorney general says Trudeau and senior members of his government inappropriately tried to pressure her to instruct prosecutors to avoid criminal prosecution of a major Canadian engineering company.

SNC-Lavalin has a lost a court bid to overturn the public prosecutor's refusal to negotiate an agreement that would see the company avoid a criminal trial.

"People south of the border would be astonished to think that this is the type of scandal that they have in Canada", said Eddie Goldenberg, a former adviser to former Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

"Perhaps if I had a larger Twitter feed, I should have said, perhaps a noun will apply, but not that one", she said. "There is a political correctness here". "There is a higher test for women, for minorities, for Indigenous people".

At the heart of the crisis are claims that Trudeau and his team pressured Canada's first indigenous attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to cut a deal with an engineering firm from Trudeau's home province and the implication that he demoted
UPDATE: PM acknowledges a breakdown of trust

When asked if her comment about Wilson-Raybould perpetuated that double standard, Copps said no, that she simply commenting on the former minister's background informing her choices.

Wilson-Raybould told the House of Commons justice committee last week that officials, citing the need to protect jobs, kept on pressing her to reconsider even after she made clear her mind was made up.

SNC-Lavalin, which employs 9,000 people in Canada and tens of thousands overseas, is accused of bribing Libyan officials to get contracts between 2001 and 2011.

"It's a pseudo-scandal. It's crap".

He said he hadn't spoken to either ex-minister "in a while" but looks forward to doing so.

But whatever option she chooses, Wilson-Raybould should be re-elected.

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At the heart of the controversy are claims that Trudeau and his team pressured then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to cut a deal for SNC-Lavalin, an engineering firm from his home province of Quebec, and the implication that he demoted her when she refused.

"The decision at issue - whether to invite an organization to enter into negotiations for a remediation agreement - clearly falls within the ambit of prosecutorial discretion and the nature of decisions that prosecutors are regularly called to make in criminal proceedings", she wrote. It has about 9,000 employees in Canada and more than 50,000 worldwide.

Since the crisis erupted a month ago, Trudeau has seemed "disconnected" and "not in control" of his government, said Eric Montigny, a politics professor at Laval University in Quebec City.

She said that an absolute exemption from the ban for this, or any company is not on the table at cabinet, but that because they are looking at broadening the kinds of crimes that could be captured by these rules, there should be a range in the punishment to reflect the varying types of offences.

The Wilson-Raybould affair has led to recent opinion polls suggesting the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer could win either a majority government or a razor-thin victory over the Liberals if a federal election were held now. The American media are reporting on two different worlds. "It is at this level that we continued, that my office continued to have conversations at different moments with her". Trump said sympathetic things about Russian Federation during the campaign and was elected despite that and other controversies, giving him "the sense that he can do anything and his base will still follow him".

"Anybody who knows me knows I'm not a racist", she says.

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On Monday, another key, female minister resigned over Trudeau's handling of the case.

"I was pointing out the fact that Trudeau always uses very gentlemanly language, but perhaps be could be a little tougher", she told HuffPost Canada in a phone interview on Sunday. "Twice. Remember your reactions?" "Expect us to make correct decisions, stand for what is right and exit when values are compromised", she also tweeted.

He testified Wilson-Raybould made no allegations about inappropriate pressure until she was dropped as minister of justice in January.

The ruling means more challenges for a company at the center of the biggest crisis to hit Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau since he took power in 2015. The federal election is in October.

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