Liberal MPs say they back Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, one day after a second high-profile cabinet minister, Jane Philpott, resigned over concerns about the political pressure exerted on former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould to defer the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.
For the second time in the past week, The Globe and Mail contacted every Liberal MP, excluding the Prime Minister, as a part of a survey about the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair. All MPs were asked whether they remain confident in Mr. Trudeau’s leadership and whether Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott, former Treasury Board president, should remain in the Liberal caucus.
The Globe’s survey comes one day before highly anticipated testimony from Mr. Trudeau’s former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, who resigned shortly after Ms. Wilson-Raybould quit cabinet in February. Mr. Butts, along with Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick and Nathalie Drouin, deputy justice minister and attorney-general, will appear before the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday to explain their version of events.
Ms. Philpott, who was widely regarded as one of the most competent Liberal ministers, resigned from cabinet on Monday, saying she had lost confidence in how the Trudeau government had handled the SNC-Lavalin matter. Mr. Trudeau said he knew about Ms. Philpott’s concerns, acknowledging that the SNC-Lavalin affair has generated important discussions and “concerns of this nature must be taken very seriously."
Last week, Ms. Wilson-Raybould told the justice committee she was subjected to sustained and co-ordinated pressure from Mr. Trudeau and his top officials, including “veiled threats," to shelve the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
Out of 179 Liberal MPs, more than 50 replied to The Globe’s questions on Tuesday and expressed support for Mr. Trudeau. Some MPs offered their thoughts on Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s and Ms. Philpott’s continued membership in caucus, saying they are valued and respected colleagues and no one called for them to leave caucus.
HERE IS A COLLECTION OF THEIR RESPONSES, SOME OF WHICH HAVE BEEN CONDENSED
“I have full confidence in him [Mr. Trudeau] … I don’t necessarily disagree with Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould’s comments. She felt that she could have been pressured and I agree with her comments … I also sincerely believe that if SNC-Lavalin was in my riding, I would be fighting tooth and nail that the company survives. Not necessarily the executives. I don’t care about the executives.” – Francis Drouin (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Ontario)
“Any cabinet position means that a minister is sometimes subject to intense pressure often with irreconcilable goals. The justice committee is in the middle of trying to determine whether the pressure was ‘undue’ or ‘inappropriate.’ The Prime Minister has my confidence. Questions about the presence or absence of anyone in caucus is best determined by caucus and the leader." – John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ontario)
“I share Jane Philpott’s concerns, and I am troubled by the fact that she felt the need to resign. That being said, I will remain confident in our leader and our party as long as they remain committed to advancing progressive policies and embracing healthy public debate amongst caucus members on matters such as the best path forward for our government when it comes to addressing this issue ... I believe that our caucus will be made stronger by their [Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott’s] continued presence within it.” – Wayne Long (Saint John-Rothesay, New Brunswick)
“Absolutely [I have confidence in the Prime Minister]. I wish there had been a better way maybe to have handled the situation but evidently there didn’t appear to be any … Our Prime Minister consults a lot with caucus and no doubt there will be lots of discussions on how we deal with this issue for two members that we all love and respect very much.” – Judy Sgro (Humber River-Black Creek, Ontario)
“I have full confidence in the Prime Minister who has demonstrated his commitment to Canadians … Jody and Jane have expressed a desire to remain a part of the team, a team that supports this government, our shared values and our Prime Minister.” – Small Business Minister Mary Ng (Markham-Thornhill, Ontario)
“I have full confidence in our government. Canadians elected us to build a strong middle class and provide opportunities for those who work hard everyday to join the middle class. That is what we have focused on since day one and this is what we will continue to do under the strong leadership of PM Trudeau." – Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton Mill Woods, Alberta)
“I have the utmost confidence in the Prime Minister and his team. Our government has worked to improve the lives of middle class Canadians and I will continue to do so as a member of caucus and of cabinet.” – Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Quebec)
“In addition to the work of [the justice] committee, the ethics commissioner, an independent and impartial officer of Parliament, is conducting his own investigation. I am fully supportive of both processes and am confident they will provide Canadians with the answers they need and deserve … I continue to support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his vision for growing the middle class.” – Darrell Samson (Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia)
“He [Trudeau] has the country on sound economic footing and continues to inspire progressives at home and abroad in an era of increasing polarization … I shudder at the thought of a return to the austerity of the Harper years." – Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
“I unequivocally support the Prime Minister, and am honoured to be a member of his cabinet. Our government will continue to work as a team focused on growing the middle class, creating jobs and expanding the economy … As the Prime Minister has said, he is still reflecting on that matter [of whether the two former ministers should remain in caucus].” – Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan (South Shore-St. Margarets, Nova Scotia)
“I thank my colleague Dr. Jane Philpott for her years of service in the federal cabinet. I remain focused on our government’s efforts to strengthen the middle class, fight climate change, and build an economy that works for all Canadians." – Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Malton, Ontario)
“I have full confidence in Prime Minister Trudeau … I feel that we are still in the early days of this story and this is a discussion that all of caucus and the PM should take together, and not individually. These are very difficult decisions as it involves two of our colleagues.” – Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, New Brunswick)
“I have full confidence in this Prime Minister and our government. I have the opportunity to be part of a diverse cabinet full of strong women whose expertise and ideas help make this country even better, and I have confidence in our team’s ability to deliver for Canadians." – Status of Women and International Development Minister Maryam Monsef (Peterborough-Kawartha, Ontario)
“I remain confident in Justin Trudeau’s leadership. The Prime Minister continues to work for Canadians coast to coast to coast build our economy … Yes, they should both remain in caucus. We remain a united Liberal team.” – Jean Yip (Scarborough-Agincourt, Ontario)
“I have total confidence in the Prime Minister’s leadership." – Terry Duguid (Winnipeg South, Manitoba)
“I absolutely have confidence in the Prime Minister and the plan he put in place for Canadians … [Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott] were two strong voices in the cabinet and are highly respected members of our caucus. This is a broader conversation that we will have as a team, but we remain united behind our Prime Minister and continue to work hard to deliver for Canadians.” – Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne (Saint-Maurice-Champlain, Quebec)
“I am confident in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership." – Anita Vandenbeld (Ottawa West-Nepean, Ontario)
“As the first ever minister of Indigenous services, Jane Philpott’s leadership helped shape and advance critical initiatives in the new department – work that I continue in my role as minister. I thank her for her service. I have full confidence in this Prime Minister and am committed to continuing on with the important work ahead for Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.” - Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, Newfoundland)
“Very confident in the Prime Minister ... It’s their [Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s and Ms. Philpott’s] decision and I expect they will remain in caucus, they have indicated such.” - Yvonne Jones (Labrador, Newfoundland)
“I believe Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott should remain in caucus. As an observer and mulling over the events of the last few months, I think that the series of appeals to the former attorney general last fall – asking her to consider options – were out of respect for her talent and intelligence and a desire not to lose that capacity in cabinet. The fact that both remain Liberals and ready to run again this fall suggests to me that there is a way forward to reconcile this situation.” - Ken Hardie (Fleetwood-Port Kells, British Columbia)
“Caucus is a place where open and frank discussion happens in a safe and confidential environment. Members of caucus are part of a singular team and need to work publicly in a consistent and unified direction ... Our team has moved forward on so many important files and this has been done by supporting one another and the Prime Minister.” - John Aldag (Cloverdale-Langley City, British Columbia)
“I have full confidence in the Prime Minister ... In my 19 years as a member of Parliament I have not speculated on internal caucus matters publicly, and I do not intend on talking about internal caucus matters now.” - Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour, New Brunswick)
“I remain very confident in Justin Trudeau’s leadership and am astounded by his empathy and goodwill for those that have, from within, created a turbulent road to achieving the objectives we all set out to accomplish in 2015. The decision to remain in caucus is between the PM and Jody Wilson-Raybould/Jane Philpott and whether they are confident in the progressive agenda we were elected on." - Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Prince Edward Island)
“I have full faith in the Prime Minister and his vision for the country. I am proud of the work we have done under his leadership and to serve in his government. I am proud of our accomplishments on climate change, creating a more inclusive and equitable society, and creating a brighter future for our children." - Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould (Burlington, Ontario)
"As a member of the justice committee, I am obliged to keep an open mind as the hearings and testimony continue. At this point, I would be loath to come to any firm conclusion without having had an opportunity to hear from all the witnesses scheduled to appear before the committee ... I think it would be appropriate for caucus to have a debate about that question and that we, as a whole team, make that decision together as [to] whether any particular individual ought to remain in the national caucus.” - Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale, Ontario)
“I have full confidence in Prime Minister Trudeau - and I’m proud of what our government has been able to accomplish for Canadians since 2015 ... When I knock on doors in my riding, as I did last weekend and do most weekends, my constituents tell me they want more action on housing affordability, and more help for families working hard to join the middle class." - Salma Zahid (Scarborough Centre, Ontario)
“The Prime Minister has my absolute confidence. … I hope that we can learn from the current situation. Consideration could be given into separating the roles of the Attorney-General and the Minister of Justice. As well, we can expect to be facing even more complex issues moving forward. I believe we need to make sure we have the right balance and find the right tools between our ability to address these issues while maintaining our strong commitment to rule of law.” - Julie Dzerowicz (Davenport, Ontario)
“I have great respect for the Prime Minister, Ms. Philpott, and Ms. Wilson-Raybould, and am focused on ensuring Niagara is much better off than it was pre-2015." - Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre, Ontario)
“Justin Trudeau enjoys my full confidence as Prime Minister of Canada ... I am proud to be part of a caucus that has a diversity of opinion, and we have always been encouraged to express our opinions openly and honestly. I would like to personally thank former ministers Wilson-Raybould and Philpott for their dedicated service to our country. I look forward to continuing to work with them to advance the interests of Canadians." - Raj Saini (Kitchener Centre, Ontario)
“I have complete confidence in the Prime Minister and what we are accomplishing together as a government. I have listened carefully to Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, and I have read Jane Philpott’s resignation letter. They have raised serious concerns that deserve answers. I remain open-minded, knowing that more witnesses will be testifying before the Justice Committee." - Kate Young (London West, Ontario)
“I am completely confident in Justin Trudeau’s leadership. The Prime Minister waived cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege to allow MP Wilson-Raybould to speak about her version of events. I look forward to hearing what all parties involved have to say in the coming days." - Marwan Tabbara (Kitchener South-Hespeler, Ontario)
"Yes, the PM has my confidence. The decision about who is in caucus and who is not is the Prime Minister’s.” - Robert Oliphant (Don Valley West, Ontario)
“The Prime Minister has my absolute confidence and I remain fully committed to continuing the important work ahead on behalf of all Canadians." - Finance Minister Bill Morneau (Toronto Centre, Ontario)
“I absolutely support the Prime Minister. Ms. Wilson-Raybould testified that she was not given any direction in this matter, that nothing unlawful was done, and a discussion of job issues was entirely appropriate. With respect to ‘pressure,’ all cabinet roles are high-pressure jobs. None are easy. On a serious topic, 10 or 12 encounters among various parties over a period of some four months doesn’t seem particularly excessive.” - Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (Regina-Wascana, Saskatchewan)
“It is an honour to have joined a group of members of Parliament with a vast array of perspectives, experiences, and opinions who demonstrate every day that they too are committed to doing the best for the people they represent and for our country ... I appreciate all that Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott have brought to the table and am disappointed that they were not able to find a path forward as members of cabinet and appreciate that this must have been a difficult decision for them to make.” - Alaina Lockhart (Fundy Royal, New Brunswick)
“I have full confidence in the Prime Minister and our government." - Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South, British Columbia)
"I have full confidence in the Prime Minister and our government ... The Prime Minister has said that he will take the time to reflect on whether or not Mrs. Wilson-Raybould should stay in caucus. I agree with this approach.” - Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson (North Vancouver, British Columbia)
“I have full confidence in the government and in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I will continue to work hard for all Canadians.” - Government House Leader Bardish Chagger (Waterloo, Ontario)
“I unequivocally support and have full confidence in the Prime Minister ... I firmly believe the Prime Minister acted with the best interests of the Canadian economy in mind. In my view, he had an obligation to do so, especially with thousands of jobs at stake across the country.” - Peter Fragiskatos (London North Centre, Ontario)
“I fully support our Prime Minister ... I appreciate that reasonable people can have different perceptions of what constitutes appropriate ‘pressure’ and ‘influence.’ but Parliament Hill is a political world which all actors must necessarily embrace both.” - William Amos (Pontiac, Quebec)
“My confidence in the Prime Minister remains untouched, I stand by him and believe in his ability to lead a government that delivers for all Canadians.” - Labour Minister Patty Hajdu (Thunder Bay-Superior North, Ontario)
“There’s a disparity at this point between some of the things Jody has said and that the Prime Minister has said and that a number of other witnesses have said. We want to make decisions based on information and the justice committee is meeting again on Wednesday. The ethics commissioner is looking (at the issue). You get emotions at this time, but I want to and caucus wants to be able to respond to the information and the evidence that is coming forward.” - Gordie Hogg (South Surrey-White Rock, British Columbia)
"The Prime Minister absolutely has my confidence. It is a huge privilege for me to serve in this government, to serve as foreign minister for Canada.” - Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (University–Rosedale, Ontario) told reporters in Longueuil, Que. Tuesday
“We must understand that every elected member of Parliament is unique and will bring his/her own values and beliefs. But these beliefs and values must not be an obstacle to achieving one common goal that will be beneficial to Canadians at large. Unfortunately, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott expressed through their actions that the big bright ‘picture’ was not of their concern.” - Ramesh Sangha (Brampton Centre, Ontario)
“I fully support the Prime Minister and our government, and as minister of science and sport, will continue focusing on our important work for science and research, and on making sport safe for all.” - Science and Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North, Ontario)
“I’m am proud to work with a leader that is focused on jobs, growing the middle class, and strengthening our economy.” - Transport Minister Marc Garneau (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount, Quebec)
“I have complete confidence in the Prime Minister and his leadership … The Prime Minister has indicated he is still reflecting on [the matter of the two MPs remaining in caucus].” - Seniors Minister Filomena Tassi (Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, Ontario)
"[Jane Philpott, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Justin Trudeau] are the leaders Canada needs to fight climate change, move forward on Indigenous reconciliation, and ensure every Canadian has a fair and real chance at success. It is my sincere hope differences can be resolved.” - Terry Beech (Burnaby North-Seymour, British Columbia) tweeted Tuesday
“I think [the Prime Minister] has shown that he is capable of leading a country, of leading a government that is progressive, that is willing to take risks, to take on transformational change ... That’s a Prime Minister that I have confidence in.” - Justice Minister and Attorney-General David Lametti (LaSalle-Émard-Verdun, Quebec) said last week (spokesperson Célia Canon provided the quotation)
“The PM and this government as a whole have Minister’s full confidence. He remains committed to his role as Minister and to the important work the PM has given him to carry out on behalf of Canadians." - Isabella Brisson-Urdaneta, press secretary for International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Centre, Manitoba)
"I fully support the Prime Minister and am proud of the work we have accomplished during the last three years to make life better for all Canadians.” - National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier (Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec)
“I have absolute confidence in our government, and our Prime Minister, and will continue the vital work of advancing reconciliation and self-determination as the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.” - Matthew Dillon-Leitch, spokesperson for Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett (Toronto-St. Paul’s, Ontario)
“Absolutely, without even the shadow of a doubt [Mr. Duclos supports the Prime Minister]." - Valérie Glazer, spokesperson for Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos (Quebec, Quebec)
“Minister MacAulay has confidence in the Prime Minister.” - spokesperson for Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, Prince Edward Island)
The office of Bill Blair (Scarborough Southwest, Ontario), the Minister for Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, said he remains confident in Mr. Trudeau’s leadership.
THE FOLLOWING MPS EITHER DID NOT RESPOND OR DECLINED TO COMMENT:
David de Burgh Graham
Geoff Regan - As Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr. Regan holds a non-partisan role and cannot comment on this matter.
Reporting by Michelle Zilio. With reports from Andrea Woo, Ann Hui, Jill Mahoney, Justin Giovannetti, Xiao Xu and Kathryn Blaze Baum.