Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s governing Liberal party has tanked in popularity amid claims senior aides helped a Quebec construction firm avoid corruption and bribery charges. His officials stand accused of pressurising former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould into preventing SNC-Lavalin Group Inc from facing possible prosecution over claims they took bribes in Libya linked to projects. Mr Trudeau, 47, spent Wednesday attempting to quell the growing crisis after two members of his senior team resigned over the allegations. His close ally, Gerald Butts, was the second person to resign on Monday.
The timing could not be at a worse time as Canadians vote in the general election in October and the latest polls indicate Mr Trudeau’s popularity has plummeted.
A Leger poll for news agency The Canadian Press found 36 percent of people said they would vote for the opposition Conservative party with 34 percent backing the Mr Trudeau’s Liberals – the first such result since 2015.
Who is Jody Wilson-Raybould?
Jody Wilson-Raybould, 47, is the female politician at the centre of the scandal threatening Mr Trudeau’s future in office.
The Kwakwaka’wakw Canadian politician became the country’s first indigenous justice minister when elected to office in 2015.
But trained lawyer Ms Wilson-Raybould quit the Cabinet last week after being demoted in January to Minister of Veterans Affairs of Canada.
Claims then emerged in The Globe and Mail newspaper that the then attorney general Ms Wilson-Raybould was pressurised to settle the case with a fine.
She has remained silent since, hiring a former Supreme Court judge as her lawyer, while figuring out what she is allowed to say.
However, Ms Wilson-Raybould has been invited to speak at the House of Commons justice committee so could start divulging information in the near future.
Could Mr Trudeau be forced from power?
Despite Mr Trudeau’s insistence of no wrong-doing, the self-declared feminist’s image has been tarred by the scandal.
This could cause problems for him when Canadians go to the polls in October.
The Prime Minister was already lambasted for not addressing denigrating stories and cartoons about Ms Wilson-Raybould after she quit.
Mr Trudeau’s position is safe for the moment as he cannot be replaced by a parliamentary vote of no-confidence.
This is the vote recently faced by Theresa May’s government.
In Canada, political leaders are elected by party members at formal conventions.