Goldsmith-Jones defends ousting of two MPs from Liberal caucus

West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones says she agrees with ousting Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus over the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced April 2 that the pair were no longer in caucus, following an emergency meeting of Liberal MPs to determine their future after Wilson-Raybould released the tape of a conversation with the Clerk of the Privy Council, recorded without his knowledge.

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Wilson-Raybould, the former attorney general and minister of veterans affairs, is MP for Vancouver Granville.

Philpott, the former health minister, minister of indigenous services, and president of the Treasury Board, represents an Ontario riding.

Last month, before the tape came to light, Goldsmith-Jones told Coast Reporter that she hoped to see Wilson-Raybould and Philpott remain in caucus after they resigned from cabinet.

On Tuesday, Trudeau said the trust between them and the rest of the Liberal team had been broken, a position echoed by Goldsmith-Jones in an interview with CBC shortly after the announcement.

Goldsmith-Jones said she would miss having the former ministers, who she considers good friends, in caucus.

“I and many in caucus worked very hard to find a way forward together, particularly as a British Columbia MP,” Goldsmith-Jones said in Tuesday’s interview.

“What I would say shifted for those of us trying our hardest is after releasing and previously taping a call between a cabinet minister and the head of the Privy Council, trust was broken. The consensus in caucus was that trust cannot be regained and I’ll respect that. I’m one of a big team. I also respect that the prime minister took caucus views into account… Once that trust is broken, there’s no going back for people.”

When asked if she thought the accusation of political interference in the SNC-Lavalin court case was a bigger concern than being a team player or secretly recording a phone call, Goldsmith-Jones responded, “I think recording a call, not having regard for telling the other person and especially the boundary that is, I think, a strong convention in our country between the political side and the professional bureaucratic side, that’s going over the line.”

Goldsmith-Jones also told the CBC that she feels that the public should be hearing more about what a Deferred Prosecution Agreement actually is, and how they’re used.

“It’s in our Criminal Code. It’s a legitimate tool,” she said. “It requires strict accountability including punishment, fines, firings, monitoring. Leaving the outcome for a company that has broken the law, less up to a court and more up to a very strict scheme for how it’s going to be held accountable while thinking about jobs, thinking about innocent third parties who are retired and dependent on a pension. I’m not saying that’s the way to go or not the way to go, but it’s something that has been entirely overlooked in this issue and it’s incumbent on us, all of us, to at least share that with Canadians.”

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