B.C. Interior's lone Liberal MP sticking with Trudeau on SNC-Lavalin | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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B.C. Interior's lone Liberal MP sticking with Trudeau on SNC-Lavalin

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Stephen Fuhr
March 07, 2019 - 4:00 PM

KELOWNA - Stephen Fuhr is no different from his constituents watching, deciphering and processing each new bit of information in the SNC-Lavalin-prosecution affair and, especially after yesterday’s update, he sees no reason he should lose confidence in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

At the same time the Kelowna-Lake Country MP spoke admirably of former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and former cabinet minister Jane Philpott who both resigned citing loss of confidence in their government, he doesn’t share their opinion.

"I want to have confidence in the government of Canada and I think Canadians should expect that and I am just looking at this and trying to be as objective about it as possible,” he said. “Given the information that I have, I have confidence in the Prime Minister and the government of Canada and my caucus colleagues but in that same breath I appreciate and understand the different players in this have different perceptions or viewpoints of what happened.”

Wilson-Raybould told a Commons Committee that Trudeau and people working for him pressured her to politically interfere in the prosecution of Canadian company SNC-Lavalin, which is facing bribery allegations. Philpott, her friend, resigned her cabinet post also citing loss of confidence in the affair. Testimony from several political and bureaucratic officials yesterday raised some doubts about the allegations — at least for some observers.

Fuhr says one key point for him is that nothing illegal was ever alleged and he is satisfied that closed door conversations Wilson-Raybould had with Trudeau and his operatives were regular workings of government. He suggests new legislation for deferred prosecutions was to blame for some of the confusion and said it's clear now one person can't serve as Justice Minister and Attorney General. He also gave his government points for opening itself to air and explain the grievance.

What he can’t understand is why Philpott resigned and resigned when she did before hearing from all sides.

“If Jane had come out and said 'listen I have experienced the same types of things running my department' — pressure, bullying, whatever you want to call it — this would be a different conversation. This is not what she is saying, she is saying very specifically she's disappointed in the way that the SNC-Lavalin affair was handled and she has lost confidence in cabinet and she is resigning. My question is, based on the testimony that we have heard, this was never discussed around the cabinet table (and she wasn’t in Wilson-Raybould’s meetings) so from my perspective the only opinion she can have... is based on Jody's opinion or perception of the issue... and I can't reconcile that.”

Fuhr acknowledged that the lingering affair isn’t going to help his Liberal Party prospects in this year’s election and says he’s not sure how the situation resolves itself. Wilson-Raybould and Philpott are still Liberal caucus members — and he doesn’t know how to explain that either.

"If I were in the same shoes and I had lost confidence in the government of Canada for whatever reason, I would resign as a Liberal and resign from caucus and sit as an independent… until the election. These two people have decided to say that they (lost) confidence in the government of Canada and yet they still want to sit in caucus. That is their choice, but it is incongruent with what I would do, and that is just my opinion."

"I think that would be everyone's preference (somehow keeping Philpott and Wilson-Raybould) and that would be mine — I know these people personally and I like them, I think they are quality, capable people and certainly my preference would be to have them on the team. How you do that now? That's a really complicated question, I don't know. I have a lot of respect for them and I think they can add value — I just don't know what that looks like moving forward."

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