Canadian prime minister expels two ex-ministers from ruling party caucus amid scandal

Jane Philpott (L) and Jody Wilson-Raybould. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 April 2019
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Canadian prime minister expels two ex-ministers from ruling party caucus amid scandal

  • The scandal is starting to hit his fortunes in the populous province of Quebec, where the ruling Liberals say they need to pick up seats in an October election to remain in power

OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday moved to sideline two former cabinet ministers at the center of a political crisis, saying he could no longer trust them.
Trudeau announced that former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and former treasury board minister Jane Philpott would no longer be allowed to sit as legislators for the ruling Liberal Party.
The Liberals have been in turmoil since Wilson-Raybould said in February that officials had inappropriately pressured her to ensure a major construction company escaped a corruption trial when she was justice minister last year.
“The trust that previously existed between these two individuals and our team has been broken,” Trudeau told an emergency meeting of caucus.
Wilson-Raybould was demoted in January and resigned the next month. Philpott quit shortly afterwards, saying she had lost confidence in how Trudeau was handling the matter.
Increasingly angry legislators had demanded both women be removed from caucus on the grounds they were undermining party unity. Polls show the crisis has cut public support for the Liberals and could lead to their defeat in an October election.
Trudeau has denied any wrongdoing. The scandal is starting to hit his fortunes in the populous province of Quebec, where the ruling Liberals say they need to pick up seats in an October election to remain in power.
Liberals, who had once predicted the party could win an extra 20 seats in Quebec, now say that 15 is the most likely maximum gain. In a tight election, that could make all the difference.


Two US service members killed in Afghanistan

Updated 12 min 19 sec ago
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Two US service members killed in Afghanistan

  • The latest deaths bring the tally of US service member deaths in Afghanistan to at least six in 2019
  • About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan

KABUL: Two US service members were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement.
It gave no further details and withheld the names of the service members until next of kin were informed.
The latest deaths bring the tally of US service member deaths in Afghanistan to at least six in 2019 and a total of at least 65 US military deaths since January 2015, according to US government and NATO reports.
The death of the two US service members came less than 24 hours after the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Kabul where he discussed ongoing peace efforts and security with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and senior politicians.
Pompeo said he hoped for a peace deal with the Taliban before Sept. 1, ahead of the presidential election in Afghanistan. The seventh round of peace talks between the United States and Taliban officials, aimed at ending the 18-year-long war, will start on June 29.
Both sides are expected to focus on Taliban demands for the withdrawal of foreign troops, most of them American, and a US demand for an end to militant attacks plotted from Afghan soil.
About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces carry out counter-terrorism operations.
A record 3,804 Afghan civilians were killed last year due to stepped up air attacks by US-led forces and more suicide bombings, the United Nations said in a February report.