Pamela Goldsmith-Jones has reiterated her support for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying she accepts that he’s taken “full responsibility” for his actions in the SNC-Lavalin affair.
“I support him and I support the responsibility he’s taking,” Goldsmith-Jones said after a funding announcement outside of Gibsons on Aug. 15.
“He’s taken full responsibility. I think that that’s good. I think his statement is serious, he understands what the ethics commissioner has said,” the outgoing West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country Liberal MP told Coast Reporter.
Goldsmith-Jones made the comments one day after Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion released his findings that Trudeau had violated the Conflict of Interest Act when he used his position to try to influence then-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to reverse her decision to back the criminal prosecution of Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.
The findings of the ethics commissioner refocused attention on the controversy, which broke last February and concluded with the ejection of Wilson-Raybould and cabinet minister Jane Philpot from the Liberal caucus in April.
Both are now running as independents, with Wilson-Raybould seeking re-election in her Vancouver Granville riding.
Goldsmith-Jones said she wished Wilson-Raybould had stayed in the Liberal caucus.
“I was part of an effort to see if that could work. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disagreement in a party and I actually think she’s making a good point when she talks about the need for that,” Goldsmith-Jones said.
“Now she’s continuing to run as an independent. I think that will be challenging, but you know in an election it will give the voters an interesting perspective and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Meanwhile, the party appears to be close to announcing the candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.
“I’m doing all I can to get that name into the public realm as soon as possible,” said Goldsmith-Jones, adding that the candidate’s name could be released within 10 days.
“I think it will be very soon. I’m not part of the party’s vetting process, but it’s well underway,” she said.
“As I learned when it was me, there’s teams of people that do their due diligence, research your background, anything that might come as a surprise. It’s a very thorough process but I’m looking forward to being part of that team when it’s announced.”
Goldsmith-Jones announced in May that she would not be running for re-election. She has since said that she expects to play a behind-the-scenes role during the campaign.
She said the incoming candidate will need to confront the geography of the riding: “The biggest challenge a candidate faces here is just the sheer size of the riding, and making sure you pay attention to every part of it is really important.”
In May, the Conservatives named Gabrielle Loren as their candidate for the riding. In June, the federal Greens elected Dana Taylor and the People’s Party of Canada chose Doug Bebb. The NDP have yet to announce their candidate.
The federal election is scheduled for Oct. 21.