Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer Tory MP Earl Dreeshen is “saddened” by Trudeau’s stance on SNC-Lavalin affair

MP believes his Conservative Party stands to gain from the scandal

“The bloom is off the rose” when it comes to Canadian opinions of Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, says Red Deer-Mountain View Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen.

Considering claims made by former Canadian attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould that Trudeau and his Liberal government tried using their influence to stop the criminal prosecution of Quebec company SNC-Lavalin, Dreeshen said, “people are seeing (Trudeau) is not genuine — which is something I’ve always known.”

Dreeshen feels more Canadians are losing confidence in the Liberal government, which he hopes will benefit his Conservative Party in the upcoming 2019 federal election.

Trudeau’s public address on Thursday is a case in point, he said.

The prime minister told Canadians he’s learned “lessons,” from the controversy that has so far cost him two female cabinet ministers and a key aide — but stopped short of an actual apology.

At the heart of the crisis are claims that the prime minister and his team pressured Canada’s first indigenous attorney, Wilson-Raybould, to fine instead of criminally prosecute an engineering firm from Trudeau’s home province, Quebec. (In 2015, Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin was charged by Canadian authorities in connection with allegedly using bribes to secure business deals in Muammar Gaddafi-era Libya.)

Wilson-Raybould believes she was demoted to veterans’ affairs minister when she refused to stop the SNC-Lavalin prosecution.

While Trudeau acknowledged having conversations with Wilson-Raybould on the case, he denied any wrongdoing. The prime minister blamed the crisis on an “erosion of trust.” He said he’s learned lessons, but did not specify which ones.

Dreeshen said this kind of evasion is “what I’ve seen from him from day one.”

The Red Deer Tory MP was elected to federal office in 2008, the same year as Trudeau was elected Liberal MP for Papineau. Dreeshen said he’s had many opportunities to observe him and has seen the real man, as opposed to the charming, charismatic leader often portrayed in the media.

Dreeshen maintains the prime minister has repeatedly demonstrated his lack of leadership on the domestic and international fronts, and is now also showing an unwillingness to accept responsibility.

“As a politician, even as a proud Canadian, I am saddened by the way this is all rolling out.”

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