Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Money | By Bruce West

Goodale in hot seat over Wilson-Raybould cabinet resignation

Goodale in hot seat over Wilson-Raybould cabinet resignation

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, has announced she is resigning from her position in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet.

The father of former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould had sharp words for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following her resignation from federal cabinet.

When pressed, he said, "the issues, the prime minister has made very clear, do not effect the independence of our judicial system".

Who is Jody Wilson-Raybould?

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The pressure to go easy on SNC-Lavalin may have resulted in the termination of Jody Wilson Raybould as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the first Indigenous woman to ever hold the post.

Trudeau has denied any wrongdoing and Wilson-Raybould has cited solicitor-client privilege when asked to explain what happened.

When she was first sworn into Cabinet in 2015, she was heralded as the first indigenous justice minister, a symbolic milestone for Canada's indigenous people and a sign of Mr Trudeau's commitment to reconciliation.

In any event, Trudeau says the fact that Wilson-Raybould is still a cabinet minister, having neither resigned nor been dismissed, speaks for itself.

Trudeau has lost a unique voice in cabinet, especially on issues that are keenly important to British Columbians, said Ginger Gosnell-Myers, an Indigenous rights researcher and a former Aboriginal relations manager for the City of Vancouver.

He also insisted, as he has since the story broke, that he did not direct Wilson-Raybould to come to any specific conclusions on whether to direct the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to reach an agreement with SNC-Lavalin.

Then he said she had reconfirmed a conversation the pair had last fall in which he told her that the final decision in any federal prosecution was hers alone.

The Conservatives have taken to tweeting out the Liberal committee members' contact information, in a bid to have members of the public exert pressure on them.

Liberal MP and justice committee chair Anthony Housefather told CBC's Power and Politics that he is "in favour" of studying the allegations.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also called on the Liberals to support the committee's push to look into the allegations. Instead he said it was for the Liberal-dominated committee to decide.

Some Indigenous leaders have been highly critical of Trudeau's decision to demote Wilson-Raybould and those criticisms escalated Tuesday.

Until Wilson-Raybould's demotion and resignation, the Liberals had done a good job of selling themselves as a "sunny ways party", he opined.

Trudeau claims he "welcomes" the probe, launched by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner on Monday after requests from two New Democrat MPs followed on the heels of an incendiary report published last week in the Globe and Mail that placed him at the center of what the Conservative opposition has termed an "unprecedented" effort to illegally influence a criminal proceeding. The Quebec engineering company is facing corruption charges of bribery and fraud.

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