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Trudeau Answers Questions about Scandal in Thunder Bay Town Hall

Updated: March 22, 2019 08:35 PM

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced questions about a recent government scandal during a town hall event in Thunder Bay on Friday evening.

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Two high-profile women in Trudeau's Cabinet resigned, and his top aide quit, in the wake of allegations that Trudeau's office exerted undue pressure to end an investigation into a major company, SNC-Lavalin.  Trudeau has denied any inappropriate actions.

"These past few weeks have been tough on the party. Anytime you have you know good strong passionate people in a disagreement about the best way forward and what happens, that's a learning experience," Trudeau told the audience at Lakehead University.

RELATED: Canada's No-Sex, No-Money Scandal Could Topple Trudeau

Trudeau said his government is considering whether to separate the role of the attorney general and the minister of justice.  He said everyone involved was trying to do the right thing but there was a serious difference in perspective on the best way forward.

"There's a question about how we do a better job of keeping the communications flowing properly through my office to me, between caucus members, make sure that everyone is being listened to when they have concerns to bring up, that they can't somehow come and talk about that," he said.

The Liberal prime minister said members of the Conservative Party have kept up discussion of SNC-Lavalin because they only want people talking about this issue heading into the fall election.  He said he looks forward for the opportunity for Canadians to make their choice.

Trudeau's visit to Thunder Bay comes days after Don Rusnak, a Liberal Member of Parliament representing the Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding, announced he will not seek re-election.  Trudeau began the session by saying that as the son of a former prime minister, he understands Rusnak's decision to leave office for family reasons.

Other topics raised during the 1 hour and 48-minute question-and-answer session included greenhouse gas targets, a possible purchase of F-35 jets and how much work would be done in Canada, and mental health initiatives.

Earlier in the day, Trudeau visited a Thunder Bay union hall to make an announcement about skills and training with Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu, who is from Thunder Bay. The announcement highlighted funding included in the budget proposal that the Trudeau government released this week.

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