Larry Bagnell in Whitehorse on July 25, 2018. Bagnell said Jane Philpott’s resignation from cabinet was “a big loss” but did not comment further, saying he wants to hear other officials testify before coming to any one conclusion. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Bagnell weighs-in on federal ministers leaving cabinet

Yukon’s MP says there needs to be discussions on whether the attorney general and justice minister should be the same person

Yukon’s MP Larry Bagnell called Jane Philpott’s resignation from the federal Liberal cabinet “a big loss” and “really unfortunate” this week.

“Jane was a very good minister,” he said.

Philpott left cabinet roughly a week after Jody Wilson-Raybould testified in front of the justice committee that she received “consistent and sustained” pressure to bend to political will in order to prevent Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin from being prosecuted.

“Unfortunately, the evidence of efforts by politicians and/or officials to pressure the former Attorney General to intervene in the criminal case involving SNC-Lavalin, and the evidence as to the content of those efforts have raised serious concerns for me,” Philpott wrote in a written statement on Mar. 4. “Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised.”

Philpott said that she must follow her “constitutional obligations.”

“There can be a cost to acting on one’s principles, but there is a bigger cost in abandoning them.”

Philpott will keep her seat as an MP for Markham-Stouffville. She previously served as the health minister, then minister of Indigenous Services. Before quitting cabinet, she was the president of the Treasury Board.

Bagnell stopped short of saying more about Philpott’s resignation, noting that wants to hear other officials testify before coming to any one conclusion.

Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary, who also resigned recently, testified on Mar. 6.

CBC reported Butts as saying “I am firmly convinced that nothing happened here beyond the normal operations of government.”

Wilson-Raybould’s statements in front of the justice committee on Feb. 27 sent shockwaves through the federal government, the reverberations of which continue to play out.

Her actions have been praised by pundits across the country and lawyers, including the president of the Canadian Bar Association, who last week told the News Wilson-Raybould was courageous in upholding the law.

Ray Adlington also said that the attorney general and justice minister are portfolios that should not be held by the same official.

Bagnell agrees, adding that reviewing the matter should be of “high priority.”

“It’s a bit of bizarre situation where the person who writes the laws is also involved in prosecuting them,” he said. “I thought that was a good suggestion by Jody in her testimony.

“I’d be happy to call for the justice committee to study that.”

Bagnell, who was in the House the day Wilson-Raybould testified, said he was “very happy” that she was able to express her “views,” adding that the nation’s capital has been “consumed” by the issue since then.

“Until we hear from the other witnesses, it appears that the disagreement is on what’s allowed in those conversations with the attorney general on which way of proceeding in a prosecution. …” he said.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen

xx
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

Most Read