Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced more questions about the SNC Lavalin scandal this morning at a major space announcement at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.
Despite Jody Wilson-Raybould's detailed and damning testimony given yesterday at the Justice committee, Trudeau continued to maintain that the only reason for her shuffle was the retirement of Scott Brison, the former Treasury Board president.
"Had Scott Brison not stepped down, Jody Wilson-Raybould would still be Attorney General today," Trudeau told reporters this morning.
Trudeau made a special point to re-enforce throughout his answers that the government was focused on protecting jobs all across the country. However, when asked if SNC Lavalin had ever threatened to leave, he sidestepped and returned to talking about good jobs for Canadians.
In her testimony yesterday, Wilson-Raybould said that while the initial discussions about potential job losses were "appropriate" in the days before she made her decision not to pursue a deffered prosecution agreement (DPA) for SNC Lavalin on September 17, 2018, the "constant and sustained pressure" following her decision was entirely "inappropriate."
When asked about the appropriateness of these discussions, the Prime Minister maintained that both he and his staff acted in an "appropriate" and "professional" manner.
Trudeau also confirmed that, to the best of his knowledge, the RCMP had not contacted anyone in his office about the allegations of attempted interference made by Wilson-Raybould yesterday.
The Prime Minister also reiterated the importance of the ethics commissioner many times throughout his answers, saying that he had the power to get to the bottom of "disagreements between politicians."
However, according to University or Waterloo Political Science professor Emmett Macfarlane, the ethics commissioner does not have the power to investigate this matter, since he is limited conflict of interest investigations.
The original reason for Trudeau's press availability was the announcement that Canada will be investing more than $2 billion over the next 24 years in space technology, joining the U.S. in NASA’s Lunar Gateway project.
Canadian labs are expected to build the robotics for the project, which is supposed to create "hundreds" of jobs over the next 10 years and add $100 million annually to Canada's GDP.
“This is a really big day for Canada in space,” Trudeau said.