PCO Clerk Michael Wernick retiring, Trudeau names replacement

PCO Clerk Michael Wernick retiring, Trudeau names replacement

He has denied that he made "veiled threats" to pressure former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to sign a remediation agreement with the Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

Here is the full text of Wernick's letter to Trudeau, sent on March 18. It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the Opposition parties.

Recent events have led me to conclude that I can not serve as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to Cabinet during the upcoming election campaign.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday changed his cabinet for the third time in three months in response to a crisis caused by the resignation of a minister who later alleged inappropriate conduct by officials.

"Recent events have led me to conclude that I can not serve as clerk of the privy council and secretary to cabinet during the upcoming election campaign", he wrote in the letter, referring to the political scandal that has already cost the Trudeau government two cabinet ministers and adviser.

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McLellan "will assess the structure that has been in place since Confederation, of a single minister holding the positions of minister of justice and attorney general of Canada", the prime minister said in a statement.

In a surprise move, Trudeau named backbench Liberal legislator Joyce Murray to the post of Treasury Board President, where she will be in overall charge of government spending.

Michael Wernick, one of the central figures in the SNC-Lavalin affair, has announced he will retire ahead of schedule because he no longer feels he can serve as clerk of the Privy Council as the country heads into what is set to be a contentious election season.

Wernick has maintained everything he did was within the boundaries of acceptable behaviour for his job of aiding the prime minister and cabinet as a non-partisan public servant.

Trudeau says he'll be replaced at the top of the federal public service by Ian Shugart, now the deputy minister of foreign affairs.

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