Former Canadian Treasury Board Secretary Jane Philpott said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke a parliamentary law by expelling her and former Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal Party’s caucus last week.
Philpott told the House of Commons that the party did not follow the legislated process for ejecting a member of parliament from a caucus and did not vote by secret ballot as the law requires, asking House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan to rule on this matter and declare that she and Wilson-Raybould’s rights were violated.
Wilson-Raybould resigned from Trudeau government after report in January that Trudeau and top officials put political pressure on her when she was justice minister to abandon the bribery and fraud prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.
Two months later, Philpott announced her resignation, saying she had lost “confidence” in the government’s handling of the case.
The SNC-Lavalin case also triggered the resignation of Trudeau’s top secretary Gerald Butts and top federal bureaucrat Michael Wernick.
Citing the Parliament of Canada Act, Philpott said a caucus vote is required before a member of parliament can be ejected, adding that nothing of the sort happened before she and Wilson-Raybould were expelled.
“We were expelled prior to the commencement of the Liberal caucus meeting. The prime minister’s words that night to the Liberal caucus are important to underscore because expulsion should not be his decision to take unilaterally,” Philpott said.
In recent weeks, the Liberal majority has scuttled a House of Commons Justice Committee inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin case and blocked the House ethics committee from investigating.