Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould resigns from cabinet

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday

Now it's not clear, however, if this shuffle is related to the SNC-Lavalin scandal in any way.

Her departure added fuel to opposition accusations of political interference in the justice system. And it left Trudeau's reconciliation agenda with Canada's Indigenous Peoples in tatters.

"With a heavy heart, I am writing to tender my resignation as the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence", Wilson-Raybould wrote in her resignation letter, which she has made public.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported last week that Trudeau or his staff pressured her to arrange a deal with Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin that would let it avoid criminal prosecution on allegations of corruption involving government contracts in Libya.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called the resignation "a sign of a government in disarray" and once again urged Trudeau to waive solicitor-client privilege so Wilson-Raybould can speak freely about the case.

The Conservatives have taken to tweeting out the Liberal committee members' contact information, in a bid to have members of the public exert pressure on them.

Trudeau has lost a unique voice in cabinet, especially on issues that are keenly important to British Columbians, said Ginger Gosnell-Myers, an Indigenous rights researcher and a former Aboriginal relations manager for the City of Vancouver.

However, given Wilson-Raybould's decision to resign from cabinet, the situation has now changed drastically.

While this is not a huge surprise, given her well-documented discontent with her demotion from Justice Minister and Attorney General to Veterans Affairs earlier this year, it is nonetheless a major development in the whole SNC-Lavalin saga.

Trudeau was scheduled to take questions from the media later Tuesday after an event in Winnipeg.

"She's a fighter", he said. "Clearly, there is something more than he has been forthcoming with".

Government insiders have said Wilson-Raybould was involved in internal discussions last fall about whether to instruct the director of public prosecutions to pursue remediation, as is allowed by law, but they've insisted those discussions were not tantamount to pressure.

I've asked our current minister of justice and attorney general to make recommendations to me on the question of solicitor-client privilege. The committee is scheduled to consider the motion on Wednesday.

Long stressed he's not "rushing to any judgment", but believes "a full and transparent investigation" by the House of Commons justice committee is necessary to provide answers in the affair. Instead he said it was for the Liberal-dominated committee to decide.

The federal ethics commissioner is investigating the allegations.

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Justin Trudeau in happier times.

The allegation in the Globe story is that Trudeau's officials pressured Wilson-Raybould a year ago to make use of the power the law gave her and allow SNC-Lavalin to negotiate a plea bargain.

Garrison Settee, grand chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc., a group representing 30 First Nations in northern Manitoba, echoed that sentiment. "It doesn't help them that Wilson-Raybould's father (influential First Nations leader Bill Wilson) is calling them out on that failure".

Wilson-Raybould will stay on as MP for Vancouver-Granville.

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