Trudeau broke law by kicking former ministers out of caucus, Philpott says

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer speaks at the National Press Theatre

The controversy began when Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first indigenous attorney general, said she was demoted to minister of veterans affairs because she resisted pressure to defer prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal-based company accused of bribery and fraud.

Liberals are defending Justin Trudeau's threatened libel suit against Andrew Scheer, arguing that the Conservative leader is not as confident as he seems in criticizing the prime minister's role in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

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.

Trudeau expelled the pair from the Liberal caucus last week, saying other MPs had lost trust in the former ministers.

Philpott said that since she and Wilson-Raybould were kicked out of caucus, and didn't leave voluntarily, their situation is different.

But the Liberals are pushing back, saying that at the start of this Parliament the Liberal caucus - including Philpott and Wilson-Raybould - agreed to opt out of adopting the part of the law in question.

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"Expulsion should not be his decision to take unilaterally, however the decision had been already made", she said.

"The leader of the Opposition pretends that he will not back down and he tries to make a show out of it", Government House leader Bardish Chagger told the House of Commons on Monday.

"I can reassure everyone and say very clearly to both Dr. Philpott and Ms. Wilson-Raybould that I consulted extensively with caucus over the proceeding weeks, in the day before and the day of, I talked with all caucus regional chairs and the will of caucus was very, very clear that they wanted the two individuals removed from caucus". Scheer made clear he has no such plans.

"You can't be inventing things, you can't be lying to Canadians and I think highlighting that there are consequences, short term and long term, when politicians choose to twist the truth and distort reality for Canadians - it's not something we're going to put up with".

While Scheer denied having edited or deleted any posts on Twitter, Chagger pointed to a tweet made by Scheer on March 31, the same day he received Porter's letter, reportedly commenting on Trudeau's "lies" pleading ignorance of a conversation between Wilson-Raybould and Michael Wernick, clerk of the Privy Council.

Scheer's lawyer claims if Trudeau doesn't proceed with a libel case, it would be treated as an admission that the conservative leaders' statements were appropriate and grounded in evidence.

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