Jody Wilson-Raybould resigns from cabinet following SNC-Lavalin allegations

Jody Wilson-Raybould
Photo: Twitter

JODY Wilson-Raybould, the former justice minister, tweeted on Tuesday that she has resigned from cabinet.

The MP for Vancouver-Granville, who was Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, tweeted a link to her resignation letter.

She has been under tremendous pressure to give her version regarding a Globe and Mail report that she had been pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office to help Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

She has retained lawyer Thomas Cromwell, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, as counsel to advise her on “topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in this matter.”

CBC reports that a spokesperson for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wilson-Raybould tendered her resignation when she and Trudeau spoke last night. Trudeau informed the rest of his cabinet in a meeting this morning.

 

MEANWHILE, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on Trudeau to preserve all documents relating to the ongoing SNC-Lavalin Affair after Wilson-Raybould’s resignation.

In a letter to Trudeau, Scheer called on him to ensure all documents including “memos, letters, emails, pins, SMS messages, and handwritten notes” pertaining to the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin be preserved amidst the pending cabinet shuffle to replace Wilson-Raybould.

The request applies to records held by Wilson-Raybould, Attorney General David Lametti, and senior Prime Minister’s Office officials including, but not limited to, Katie Telford, Gerald Butts, Mathieu Bouchard, and Elder Marques.

“With Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s resignation from cabinet, and a cabinet shuffle imminent, it’s absolutely imperative that Mr. Trudeau ensure the preservation of these records,” Scheer said. “Canadians deserve to know the truth around what happened and these records must be preserved.”

Scheer also said Wilson-Raybould’s resignation is a sign of a government in disarray.

“Mr. Trudeau’s ethical lapses and his disastrous handling of this latest scandal have thrown his government into chaos,” Scheer said. “He promised Canadians open and transparent government and he has betrayed that promise. Canadians deserve better.”

Click here to view the letter.

 

ALSO, Canada’s Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is investigating into allegations that the Ptrime Minister’s Office pressured Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

In a letter to NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Nathan Cullen, who complained about possible violations of the Conflict of Interest Act, Dion said he has “reason to believe that a possible contravention of section 9 may have occurred.”

The federal NDP said that “in recent days, Liberal operatives have attempted to smear Wilson-Raybould’s performance even though she was widely seen as a credible and competent minister throughout her tenure.”

Cullen said: “We urge Mr. Trudeau’s team to stop trying to discredit Ms. Wilson-Raybould and to commit to fully cooperate with the Ethic Commissioner’s investigation. The Liberal government should also support the work of the Justice Committee who will be looking into other questions such as, why was the law that would help SNC-Lavalin changed in the first place and who pressured the former Attorney General to let SNC-Lavalin off the hook. Canadians deserve answers. This scandal goes to the heart of our democracy and the fairness of our legal system.”

 

THE Union of BC Indian Chiefs in an open letter to Trudeau said:

“We demand that you immediately and categorically publicly condemn the racist and sexist innuendo about Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould that is being spread by unnamed elected officials and staff of your government in media reports.

“Statements from senior staffers and officials perpetuate a damaging and sexist image of Minister Wilson-Raybould as someone who was “a thorn in the side of cabinet,” “difficult to get along with,” and “known to berate fellow cabinet members at the table.” It has been reported by insiders of your government that she was someone “who others felt they had trouble trusting” and has reportedly “been in it for herself” such that “everything is very Jody-centric.”

“These disingenuous statements are cowardly, low blows aimed at discrediting the staunch work ethic Minister Wilson-Raybould has maintained. They perpetuate colonial-era, sexist stereotypes that Indigenous women cannot be powerful, forthright, and steadfast in positions of power, but rather confrontational, meddling and egotistic. These comments from your staff must be recognized for what they are – blatant sexism.

“We applaud and acknowledge Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes who has issued a statement that precisely captures the sexist agenda being carried out against Minister Wilson-Raybould: “As someone on the inside who knows (Wilson-Raybould), I can tell you she is fierce, smart and unapologetic. When women speak up and out, they are always going to be labelled. Go ahead. Label away.”

“Hopefully, Canadians will also see the negative conduct and discriminatory rhetoric for what it is: an attempt to save face and initiate damage control about the purported wrongdoings of your office by attacking and discrediting a prominent Indigenous woman and leader. This is not the first time you and your government has conducted itself in a disapprobative and inappropriate manner. Kukpi7 Judy Wilson still awaits your apology, as requested by the UBCIC Executive in December 2018, after your dismissive and patronizing conduct and comments towards her at the Assembly of First Nations meeting in Ottawa.

“We urge you to take responsibility for your behavior and that of your government. If you do not condemn these harmful statements and apologize to Minister Wilson-Raybould, you not only reaffirm a colonial belief system that Indigenous women are inferior and disposable, but the hypocrisy of your professed feminism and “most important relationship” with Indigenous people will be laid bare for all Canadians to see.”

The letter was signed by Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (President),  Chief Robert Chamberlin (Vice President) and Kukpi7 Judy Wilson (Secretary-Treasurer).

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