May 24, 2019 / 9:28 PM / 4 months ago

Former Canadian ministers who clashed with Trudeau to make political announcements

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Two former cabinet ministers who accused people close to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of interfering in a corporate corruption case and were later ejected from the ruling Liberal Party will make announcements about their political futures on Monday.

FILE PHOTO - Independent MPs Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould stand in front of a painting of former Liberal party Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King as they arrive to speak to journalists on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 3, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was Canada’s first indigenous Justice Minister, and Jane Philpott, who held three different cabinet positions in Trudeau’s government, said on Friday that they would speak to the media at 1200 ET (1600 GMT).

“I will be making a community announcement about my political future on Monday,” Wilson-Raybould wrote on Twitter. “I look forward to sharing my next steps with you.”

Philpott shared an almost identical Tweet. Both will speak at the same time and neither gave any further details. Canada is holding a national election in October.

Trudeau has been trying to put the so-called Lavalin scandal behind him since February, when Wilson-Raybould said officials leaned on her while she was justice minister last year to ensure construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc avoided a corruption trial.

In April, Trudeau expelled both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, but not before it severely damaged his chances for re-election. Philpott had also criticized the government’s handling of the affair.

Trudeau is now trailing his main rival, Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, in national polls.

If either Wilson-Raybould or Philpott, or both, choose to run in the general election for another party or as independents, they will serve as a constant reminder of the scandal, which has seemed to fade in recent weeks.

The leader of Canada’s Green Party, Elizabeth May, said earlier this month that she “would love” to have both women in the party.

The Green Party had only one seat in parliament until earlier this month, when it captured its second seat in a special election in British Columbia, which is also where Wilson-Raybould was elected in 2015. The Greens have been edging up slightly in recent polls.

The left-leaning New Democrat Party leader Jagmeet Singh has also said that he would welcome either woman to his bloc.

Reporting by Steve Scherer

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