Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Celina Caesar-Chavannes Quits Liberal Caucus, Sits as Independent MP

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Celina Caesar-Chavannes Quits Liberal Caucus, Sits as Independent MP

Article excerpt

MP Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus

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OTTAWA - Celina Caesar-Chavannes has informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that she's leaving the federal Liberal caucus and will sit as an Independent MP.

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, two cabinet ministers who resigned over the SNC-Lavalin affair.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail last week, she also accused Trudeau of yelling at her angrily when she informed him that she would not be seeking re-election this fall -- an accusation the Prime Minister's Office has denied.

In a tweet Wednesday, Caesar-Chavannes said that interview "has had unintended effects on those I care about. Although that was not the intention, it was the consequence, and I am sorry. I no longer want to distract from the great work my caucus colleagues are doing."

But Conservatives pounced on the defection, arguing that Caesar-Chavannes's exit, added to the departures of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott from cabinet, prove that Trudeau is a "fake feminist."

Conservative House leader Candice Bergen said the "good old boys" in the Prime Minister's Office wanted Wilson-Raybould to avert a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin and when she refused, "she was promptly fired and silenced.

"The prime minister is really good at yelling and screaming at women, as the member from Whitby knows, and he's also a very good actor. But, Mr. Speaker, he's a fake feminist," Bergen told the House of Commons.

Trudeau said he'll take no lessons on feminism from Conservatives who "still want to challenge a woman's right to choose" to have an abortion.

Caesar-Chavannes, first elected in 2015, has been a relatively high-profile backbencher, primarily as an advocate for the rights of black Canadians.

She's gotten into several Twitter wars with Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada, who once accused her of thinking "the world revolves around your skin colour. …

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