2019-03-13

Local MP Bernadette Jordan: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ‘had my back for three-and-a-half years’

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>Contributed photo</p><p>South Shore MP, Bernadette Jordan.</p>

Partisan loyalty runs deep with local Liberal MP and cabinet minister Bernadette Jordan who deflected multiple questions recently on an Ottawa radio talk show about Jody Wilson-Raybould's resignation and the ongoing controversy over the prosecution of a Quebec engineering firm.

Jordan, who's represented South Shore-St. Margaret's since 2015, stayed consistent with party messaging about safeguarding Canadian jobs and growing the economy when she spoke to CFRA on February 28.

Wilson-Raybould testified before a House of Commons committee that while she was the attorney general and justice minister the Prime Minister's Office improperly pressured her when it came to the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

The claim is disputed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but Wilson-Raybould quit cabinet February 12.

Jordan, minister of Rural Economic Development, told The Evan Solomon Show she's confident no one directed Wilson-Raybould do to anything inappropriate.

"The justice committee is looking into that; we have to trust that process, as well as the ethics commissioner. I trust that process as well," she told Solomon.

"I definitely support the Prime Minister on this one. He's been somebody who's had my back for three-and-a-half years and I believe when he says that they don't agree on something that there's obviously a definite difference in opinion."

It's alleged Wilson-Raybould was pressured to side with a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with SNC-Lavalin, which employs about 9,000 people in Canada and faces corruption and bribery charges, instead of moving ahead with a trial.

A DPA still provides for punishment but eliminates the potential of a criminal conviction, a point Jordan made during the 10-minute segment.

"A lot of people don't understand with a DPA is it's not a get out of jail free card," she said. "When you're talking about 9,000 jobs; these are important jobs that people rely on. We're talking about pensions, we're talking about people who have long histories with this company ... there are still consequences for the actions and there are still penalties for the actions but it's really important that those jobs are protected."

The opposition has called for a RCMP investigation into the potential of breach of trust or obstruction of justice in the matter. Jordan wouldn't say if warrants a police probe. "If they [RCMP] feel there should be an investigation that would be up to them to make that decision."

Jordan also wouldn't give her opinion as to whether or not Wilson-Raybould should remain in caucus.

Saying she's lost confidence in how the federal government's dealt with the SNC-Lavalin controversy, Treasury Board president Jane Philpott quit cabinet on March 4.

LighthouseNOW reached out to Jordan to ask if she supports Trudeau and is staying in cabinet.

In a statement released by Brian Kaufmann, Jordan's communications director, she said, "I unequivocally support the Prime Minister, and am honoured to be a member of his cabinet."

Rick Perkins, the Conservative party candidate running for election against Jordan this October, accuses her of putting her allegiances ahead of serving constituents.

"The only jobs Justin Trudeau and Bernadette Jordan are trying to save are their own," Perkins said in a statement released late March 4.

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