March 19 (UPI) -- Another top Canadian official quit Monday over a widening scandal that threatens Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration for its handling of a corruption investigation of a major Canadian contractor.
Michael Wernick, the Clerk of the Privy Council and head of the federal public service, announced his resignation. Cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott resigned earlier along with the prime minister's principal secretary and longtime friend Gerald Butts.
Wilson-Raybould accused Trudeau of pressuring her as Canada's top prosecutor to end the investigation of government contractor SNC-Lavalin. Trudeau has denied the accusation.
Some in Canada's Conservative Party have urged the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate while others have called on Trudeau, a member of the Liberal Party, to resign.
Wernick said his office lost its image as an impartial arbiter because of the scandal.
"Recent events have led me to conclude that I cannot serve as clerk of the privy council and Secretary to Cabinet during the upcoming election campaign," Wernick said. "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."
Wernick would have been part of a five-person panel to decide whether to inform the public of any threats to the integrity of the election expected this October.
"[Wernick] has become a central player in a very political controversy that may have included attempts to obstruct the work of the independent public prosecution service," Member of Parliament Charlie Angus said in an open letter earlier this month.
"For these reasons, prime minister, he cannot remain clerk of the privy council and I urge you to ask for his resignation immediately," the letter continued.