Wilson-Raybould slams feds for ‘incremental’ progress on Indigenous rights recognition

 

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Former justice minister Jody Wilson-RaybouldOTTAWA — Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is slamming the federal government she was once a part of for making only “incremental” progress on the Indigenous justice file and their promise to “decolonialize” Canadian laws and policies.

“My fear and disappointment is that despite sounding the alarm, providing the advice, pushing and challenging, sharing perspectives of lived Indigenous experience… the federal government has fallen back once again into a pattern of trying to ‘manage the problem’ with Indigenous peoples and make incremental shifts rather than transforming the status quo,” Wilson-Raybould said during a keynote address on Wednesday at the First Nations Provincial Justice Forum in Vancouver. They were invited by the B.C.-based First Nations Justice Council.

She appeared alongside fellow newly-Independent MP Jane Philpott to deliver a joint address called: “From denial to recognition: the challenges of Indigenous justice in Canada.”

“Since I spoke to the leadership of British Columbia this past November, there have been a few developments, things have changed a bit,” Wilson-Raybould said early in her remarks, to laughter. “Perhaps not fully unexpected but certainly an eventful time,” she continued, appearing to reference the months-long controversy surrounding her allegations that she faced a sustained effort from senior government officials to attempt to pressure her to interfere in a criminal case against the Quebec engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin.

Wilson-Raybould framed her comments as her reflections and insights from her nearly three years as Canada’s first-ever Indigenous justice minister and attorney general, presented with the aim of informing these Indigenous leaders’ ongoing efforts to change the current justice system.

She said that she had “no illusion” about the reality of the system she was taking the helm of, but said that over the course of her time in cabinet she fought to challenge the way things had been done. MORE

Philpott says Trudeau violated the law by expelling her, Wilson-Raybould from caucus

Independent MPs Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould speak with the media before Question Period in the Foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday April 3, 2019. Former cabinet minister Philpott says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the law when he expelled her and Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal caucus.Independent MPs Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould speak with the media before Question Period in the Foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday April 3, 2019. Former cabinet minister Philpott says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the law when he expelled her and Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal caucus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Former cabinet minister Jane Philpott says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the law when he expelled her and Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal caucus.

In the House of Commons, Philpott says the Parliament of Canada Act says MPs can’t be kicked out of their party groups without a vote and Trudeau ejected them on his own.

She’s asking Speaker Geoff Regan to declare that their privileges were violated.

A set of amendments in 2015 was meant to make it more difficult to remove MPs from their caucuses, to shift power away from party leaders and toward rank-and-file legislators.

Philpott says if Trudeau had followed the rules, it would have taken 90 Liberal MPs to vote to kick her and Wilson-Raybould out, and no such vote was held before Trudeau expelled them on the grounds that the caucus didn’t trust them any more.

The two former ministers have been thorns in Trudeau’s side in the SNC-Lavalin affair, with both resigning from cabinet over the way the controversy has been handled.

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One activist on her decision to shun Trudeau: ‘A refusal to sit idle’

Riley Yesno: Why absence and silence was so powerful at Daughters of the Vote


Trudeau looks to the audience for a question following his speech to Daughters of the Vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday April 3, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

“Your seat is your power. By giving up your seat you’re giving up your power”.

That’s what Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality, told me and the other two dozen or so delegates from Daughters of the Vote, who protested in the House of Commons by walking out on Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and turning our backs on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on April 3.

Run by the non-profit organization Equal Voice Canada, the Daughters of the Vote program is an initiative that brings together 338 women, gender-fluid and non-binary folk—one from every federal riding in Canada—to engage with women in politics, sit and speak in the House of Commons, and provide a platform for young leaders to have their voices amplified.

Although many of my fellow delegates and I didn’t say a word during our protests earlier this week, I think our messages were certainly heard.

The peaceful action attracted unanticipated media attention as reporters and journalists swarmed many of my colleagues following our exit from the House. The main question they wanted answered: Why?

Read more: The fall of the feminist Prime Minister

While I cannot speak on behalf of any of my peer’s individual motives, I know that some said they were prompted, at least in part, by the ejection of former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus.Others said they protested in response to the policies, programs, and beliefs held by  Scheer and  Trudeau that have violent implications for their communities; such as Scheer’s anti-2SLGBTQ+ stances on marriage equality, or the Trudeau government’s sale of weaponry to countries like Saudi Arabia and large-scale environmental offences for example. Several people simply saw others taking action, and knew that this was a time to enact meaningful allyship and show solidarity. MORE

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Jody Wilson-Raybould testimony reveals another tough lesson for Indigenous youth


Jody Wilson-Raybould appears at the House of Commons Justice Committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday.  (SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

When Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s former attorney general and minister of justice, sat in front of the justice committee on Wednesday I, like so many others, tuned in, anxiously waiting to hear her speak her truth. Here was a smart, accomplished, and composed Indigenous woman, about to speak out against Canada’s most powerful politicians. She sat alone. Before the hearing even began, the image of the scene spoke volumes.

Her testimony was both eloquent and brave. Despite this, I felt an anxiety about the whole situation that wouldn’t subside; I knew that, like in all cases where one speaks truth to power (especially if those speaking are women or Indigenous people in this country), that there would be backlash and consequences — no matter how eloquent or brave you may be.I cringed knowing that the second the hearing ended I would go online and see people calling her a liar and a traitor, blame her if a conservative government were to take power, and generally posting a host of awful things. Implicitly validating all of this, I knew that the prime minister would deny it all.

The real reason I felt so anxious, however, was not because of these inevitabilities — it was because I saw a bigger message they spoke to: that an Indigenous woman can be in one of the most powerful and prestigious positions in the country, and yet is still not shielded from the violence of Canada and the government; that you can try to work within the system, but you will always face incredible resistance if your work threatens the interests of those more powerful, who the system is really built to serve. MORE

Wilson-Raybould rejects criticisms she may have helped Conservatives win the next election

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/5138977/
WATCH ABOVE: An extended walk and talk with former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould rejects the idea that by raising concerns about the SNC-Lavalin scandal, she may have helped boost Conservative prospects in the fall election campaign.

In an interview with the West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, the now-independent MP for Vancouver-Granville said that while she understands concerns from her former caucus about how the scandal will impact their re-election chances, she thinks that is beside the point at the heart of the controversy.

READ MORE: Wilson-Raybould says anonymous leaks ‘trampling all over’ the confidences she still vows to uphold

“I don’t see myself as helping Andrew Scheer win the next election.,” she said, speaking from her Vancouver-area riding.

“I spoke my truth, I stood up for what was right and my belief in the institutions of our democracy and the necessary nature of those institutions remaining independent and upholding the rule of law … if politics ever overtakes the right thing to do, then we’ve lost already.”

WATCH: Video coverage of The West Block’s exclusive interview with Jody Wilson-Raybould

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/5138974/

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Trudeau threatens Scheer with lawsuit over SNC-Lavalin comments

PM’s lawyer sent letter to Opposition leader about remarks made concerning the SNC-Lavalin matter


Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he stands by his criticisms of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after receiving a lawyer’s letter threatening a lawsuit. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has received a lawsuit threat from the prime minister regarding comments he made about the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Scheer says he received a letter from Justin Trudeau’s lawyer on March 31.

The letter from Trudeau’s lawyer Julian Porter took issue with what they term inappropriate comments in a statement made by Scheer on March 29 in response to new documents tabled in the justice committee from former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.

“The statement contained highly defamatory comments about Prime Minister Trudeau,” it reads.

Trudeau has been under fire for the last two months over allegations that there was pressure on Wilson-Raybould to interfere in criminal proceedings against Quebec construction giant SNC-Lavalin. In an appearance before the House justice committee, she said top government officials asked her to help ensure a special legal deal was extended to the company.

She later provided emails, a written statement and a taped recording to the committee. MORE

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Scheer says PM’s lawyer threatened him with libel suit over SNC-Lavalin affair

Jody Wilson-Raybould’s Directive On Civil Litigation Heralded As Historic Shift For Indigenous Rights

Michael Wernick called it a “profound change in Canada’s legal landscape.”

Jody Wilson-Raybould appears at the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee on June 20, 2018. Jody Wilson-Raybould appears at the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee on June 20, 2018. PATRICK DOYLE/CP

OTTAWA — Jody Wilson-Raybould’s text messages with Gerald Butts focused on the release of a historic directive on civil litigation involving Indigenous peoples, not just SNC-Lavalin, according to evidence submitted to the Commons justice committee.

The former principal secretary tabled texts between him and the former attorney general as evidence to the committee as part of its study of the SNC-Lavalin affair and allegations of political interference. Butts told the committee earlier that the directive was “the biggest contentious issue” between him and Wilson-Raybould around mid-December 2018.

Wilson-Raybould texted Butts on Nov. 28 to give him a heads-up that she intended to release a directive for civil litigation involving Indigenous peoples “at a big gathering in BC” the next day — formalizing a major government-wide policy shift to ditch adversarial litigation in favour of reconciliation.

“Even all the DOJ lawyers ([including] conservative ones) are good with it,” she wrote, adding that release of the directive “ticks off yet another mandate letter commitment.” MORE

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SNC-Lavalin fallout has some Indigenous Canadians questioning Trudeau’s commitment to reconciliation

‘The trust has been broken,’ says Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip


Independent MPs and former cabinet ministers Jane Philpott, left, and Jody Wilson-Raybould speak to reporters before question period in Ottawa, a day after being removed from the Liberal caucus. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Trudeau government is defending its commitment to reconciliation as a growing number of Indigenous leaders and youth say they’re discouraged by his decision to eject two key figures on the file from the Liberal caucus.

“I’m very disappointed that it had to come to this,” said Linden Waboose, a 22-year-old from from Eabametoong First Nation who sits on the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Oshkaatisak Council, an advisory network of ten youths aged 18-29 from Northern Ontario.

“I feel like [Trudeau] doesn’t value that relationship he committed to in 2015.”

In her testimony before the Commons Justice Committee during its investigation of the SNC-Lavalin affair, Wilson-Raybould said she would not apologize for being a strong advocate of transformative change for Indigenous peoples.

As she was being shuffled from her justice post, she warned senior people in the government that it would not look good for the government.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, wants the prime minister to apologize to Jody-Wilson Raybould and Jane Philpott. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

In text messages to Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s then-principal secretary, she wrote that the “timing of pushing me out (which will be the perception, whether true or not) is terrible. It will be confounding and perplexing to people.”

That perception is already being echoed by some.

“I think there is irreparable harm and damage done to Prime Minister Trudeau’s vision and stated intent to carry forward the reconciliation agenda,” said Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

“The trust has been broken.” MORE

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POLITICS Jody Wilson-Raybould: ‘The Liberal party is not something I understand anymore’

The former AG talks to Maclean’s about recording her call with Michael Wernick, her relationship with Gerry Butts and the dangers of blind loyalty


Independent MP and former Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould speaks to reporters before Question Period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, a day after being removed from the Liberal caucus on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

There are two ways this might go now for Jody Wilson-Raybould: creation of an icon or writing of a footnote. To her admirers, the former justice minister’s attributes seem lastingly potent. She was the woman who rose higher in federal politics than any previous Indigenous politician, only to be driven out on a point of principle. To her critics, including many of her former Liberal colleagues, she just wasn’t a team player and didn’t understand the compromises high office demands.

Wilson-Raybould, 48, was first elected a Liberal MP in Vancouver in 2015, having been recruited by Justin Trudeau on the strength of her record as a B.C. First Nations leader. He made her his first justice minister, then demoted her to Veterans Affairs early this year. Wilson-Raybould suspects she fell out of favour after resisting months of pressure from Trudeau and senior officials to use her power as attorney general to give SNC-Lavalin a way of avoiding a bribery trial through a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).

Image result for Macleans cover Jody Wilson-Raybould

Trudeau denies that was the reason. But Wilson-Raybould quit his cabinet as the controversy raged, and he kicked her out of the Liberal caucus on April 2, along with her ally, former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott. The following afternoon, she sat with Maclean’s for this extensive interview, which has been edited for length and clarity. (To read our interview with Jane Philpott, go here) MORE

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Recording a telephone call? 189 federal servants spied on Cindy Blackstock under Wernick and Justice department

 

New AG Lametti says he will resist any attempts to pressure him on SNC case


Justice Minister David Lametti arrives for a cabinet meeting in West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. File photo by The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld

Attorney General David Lametti says he will resist any attempt to pressure him on the SNC-Lavalin criminal prosecution.

Lametti is now in the hot seat on the court case that has rocked the Liberal government, resulting in the resignations of two cabinet ministers, the prime minister’s most trusted adviser and the country’s top civil servant.

The director of public prosecutions decided last fall not to negotiate a deferred-prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavalin, which is facing charges of bribery over its work in Libya between 2001 and 2011. Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould says she was inappropriately pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his senior staff to overrule that decision.

She believes she was shuffled out as justice minister and attorney general in January because she would not intervene, though the prime minister denies that had anything to do with her move. MORE

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