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Canadian minister quits amid allegations in corporate corruption case

Kitco News

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould quit on Tuesday amid allegations that senior officials tried to pressure her last year to help construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc avoid a corruption trial when she was justice minister.

Wilson-Raybould resigned in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau but did not give a reason for leaving. Wilson-Raybould said she was consulting a lawyer to see how much she could say about the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Trudeau told reporters on Monday that he had full confidence in Wilson-Raybould, who he demoted from the justice portfolio last month after the Globe and Mail newspaper reported she had brushed off officials urging her to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a trial over bribery and corruption charges.

Wilson-Raybould said she was quitting “with a heavy heart,” adding that “I am aware that many Canadians wish for me to speak on matters that have been in the media over the past week.” She will stay on as a legislator.

Mario Dion, Canada’s independent ethics commissioner, said on Monday he was probing allegations of possible wrongdoing by senior officials.

Wilson-Raybould, 47, appointed justice minister when Trudeau’s Liberals came to power in November 2015, is one of the most prominent aboriginal politicians in federal politics.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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