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Libs say lawsuit threat needed to stop Scheer's 'misinformation' on SNC-Lavalin

Libs say lawsuit threat needed to stop Scheer's 'misinformation' on SNC-Lavalin”

Scheer revealed on Sunday that he had received a letter from Julian Porter, Trudeau's lawyer, notifying Scheer of a potential libel suit regarding a statement issued on March 29, in which the Conservative leader accused Trudeau of leading a campaign to politically interfere with the criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin and directing his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to break the law.

Philpott says 90 Liberal MPs would have had to vote in favour of kicking them out.

Wilson-Raybould believes she was moved out of the prestigious justice portfolio to Veterans Affairs in a mid-January cabinet shuffle as punishment for refusing to intervene to stop the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on bribery charges related to contracts in Libya.

Two months later, Philpott declared she was stepping down, explaining that she had lost "confidence" in the government's solution of the case. The caucus has since been operating in that way throughout this Parliament when other Liberal caucus expulsions have occurred.

"From my understanding and from my participation... we followed the rules and procedures consistent with the legislation that was passed", said Ontario Liberal MP Adam Vaughan.

The revelation that Wilson-Raybould had surreptitiously recorded a phone conversation with Michael Wernick, the clerk of the Privy Council, to bolster her contention of undue pressure was the last straw for Liberal MPs, who openly called on Trudeau to expel the former ministers. That ruling stated that the Speaker could not weigh in on the possible expulsion of MPs from a caucus, and that the Speaker has "no role in the interpretation of statute nor in the conduct of these 2015 provisions". Rather, the newly elected MPs - presumably including Philpott and Wilson-Raybould - voted unanimously to defer the matter to the Liberal party's next convention.

Some Liberal MPs are publicly disputing Philpott's claim that her rights have been breached. "It was my decision to make but the fact that the caucus was clear and united on that made my decision easier", he said.

Philpott said that because she and Wilson-Raybould were expelled, the situation is unique.

The underlying notion, as Philpott told the House, is that MPs are not accountable to the leader, but he or she to them.

"You can't be inventing things, you can't be lying to Canadians and I think highlighting that there are consequences, short term and long term, when politicians choose to twist the truth and distort reality for Canadians - it's not something we're going to put up with". Scheer made clear he has no such plans.

Put another way, MPs ought to have a say in how their organization - the caucus - is run.

Trudeau said Tuesday that despite there not being a formal vote, at the start of this Parliament the Liberal caucus did send a letter to the Speaker expressing the "will of caucus" in regards to these rules.

Scheer is standing by his statements, and has dared Trudeau to follow through with the suit.

And she brought up a tweet Scheer deleted back in December after Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains served notice of a potential libel suit over the Conservative leader's assertion that the minister was under RCMP investigation related to a land deal in Brampton.



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