Kudos to David Lyon for his help in untangling a charge of interference by the former federal attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, in which he points out that her reasoning about her decision not to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin prosecution is still hidden.
The PM didn't repeat his consistent stance Monday night and never said his government didn't put pressure on Wilson-Raybould to help SNC avoid criminal prosecution.
Like Wilson-Raybould, Philpott said she intends to remain a Liberal MP - for Markham-Stouffville outside Toronto, in her case. "Given this convention and the current circumstances, it is untenable for me", Philpott declared, "to continue to serve as a cabinet minister".
February 26 - Wilson-Raybould writes to Quebec Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, chair of the Commons justice committee, to say that while she will agree to give testimony before MPs, she will not be able to speak freely because the limits of the PMO's waiver won't allow it.
She said that from September to December 2018, officials "hounded" her to ask prosecutors to settle the case out of court.
And polling that had consistently showed the next election would be the Liberals to lose now appears to favour the Conservatives forming the next government.
Last week, the opposition called for Trudeau's resignation and for launching a federal investigation to look into Wilson-Raybould's claims.
The Privy Council clerk insists there was no inappropriate pressure on Wilson-Raybould to override a decision to prosecute SNC-Lavalin, but says he warned her about the dire economic "consequences" of criminal proceedings. "So, he is in that kinda mood and I wanted you to be aware of that". But Wilson-Raybould viewed their interactions markedly different. She is a thoroughly conventional, right-wing bourgeois politician.
Female cabinet ministers stuck up for the Liberals and Trudeau on Tuesday.
Most Liberal members of parliament have so far backed Trudeau but there are signs of strain. These include Bill C-59, which enshrined the key measures in the previous Harper government's legislation greatly expanding the powers of the national-security apparatus; the Liberals' hiking of military spending by over 70 percent by 2026; their multibillion-dollar tax handouts to big business; and their criminalization of last fall's postal workers' strike.
Both had been symbols of the Liberals' ability to recruit strong female candidates: Wilson-Raybould is a lawyer and former regional chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations; Philpott is a family doctor with extensive experience overseas. Meanwhile, it has been reported the government is seeking a means to drop the prohibition on Ottawa awarding contracts to companies convicted of wrongdoing for 10 years.
With regards to the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Trudeau has sided with the statements against the allegations.
A key part of this has been the promotion of identity politics, with Trudeau claiming to be pursuing a "feminist" foreign policy as his government integrates Canada still more fully into the United States military-strategic offensives-against Russia, China, and now Venezuela-and touting a gender-balanced, unprecedentedly ethnically diverse cabinet. Both women were star candidates for the Liberals during the 2015 election and their initial appointment to prestigious cabinet posts was emblematic of Trudeau's commitment to gender equality.
Now Trudeau and his top aides are being attacked from across the official political spectrum for bullying an indigenous woman. As attorney general, Wilson-Raybould would have been legally entitled to instruct the director of public prosecutions on how to deal with SNC-Lavalin.
Four years ago, Montreal-based engineering company SNC-Lavalin was charged with fraud and bribery in relation to its dealings with the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
"I believe my evidence will be of assistance to the (committee's) consideration of these matters", writes Butts in a letter to the Justice committee a day after Wilson-Raybould's appearance, requesting the opportunity to speak and suggesting "relevant documents" could be presented. Those are the words that lead to assassination.