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Flashback: SNC-Lavalin scandal drives Gerald Butts to resign from Trudeau's office

National Observer: 'A political scandal that has already cost Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a key cabinet minister, has now claimed one of the top advisors in his inner circle.

'Gerald Butts, a long-time friend and advisor of Trudeau, has resigned his position as principal secretary in the prime minister's office, due to allegations that he unduly put pressure on former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to strike a plea bargain deal with Quebec construction company SNC-Lavalin so that it could avoid a criminal conviction on corruption charges.

'Trudeau shuffled Wilson-Raybould out of the justice portfolio, sending her to veterans affairs in January. But she resigned from this position on Feb. 12, less than a week after the Globe and Mail published a report that cited anonymous sources who claimed she was pressured by Trudeau's office to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case.

'Butts was one of several government officials and opposition MPs who have been lobbied by SNC-Lavalin about its desire to avoid a criminal conviction, since this would force the government to ban the Quebec company from bidding on any federal public contracts. Legislation exists in other countries such as the United States to allow large companies to strike similar deals to avoid unintended economic consequences that could cost thousands of jobs if they are placed in a situation where they can no longer bid on billions of dollars worth of government contracts.

'SNC-Lavalin is a major multinational company that employs about 9,000 people across Canada in a range of sectors including, mining, infrastructure, oil and gas, and clean energy. The lobbying was related to a prosecution over company officials who offered bribes to obtain contracts in Libya.'

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