Jody Wilson-Raybould resigns from Liberal cabinet
- EFN Staff | February 12, 2019
After less than a month as Minister of Veterans Affairs, Jody Wilson-Raybould has announced her resignation. On February 12, Wilson-Raybould released a letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau which stated her resignation from the federal cabinet.
“With a heavy heart, I am writing to tender my resignation as the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence,” she stated. “I am aware that many Canadians wish for me speak on matters that have been in the media over the last week. I am in the process of obtaining advice on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in this matter.”
The decision followed in wake of the SNC-Lavalin controversy which The Globe and Mail reported on February 7th “that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office attempted to press Ms. Wilson-Raybould when she was justice minister to intervene in the corruption and fraud prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.”
PM Trudeau addressed media in Winnipeg on the evening of February 12th to respond to Wilson-Raybould’s resignation stated he was puzzled at Wilson-Raybould’s decision.
“Frankly, I am both surprised and disappointed by her decision to step down,” he said. “This resignation is not consistent with conversations I had with [Wilson-Raybould] a few weeks ago when I asked her to serve as Canada’s Minister for Veteran Affairs and an Associate Minister of National Defence nor is it consistent with the conversations we had lately.”
PM Trudeau said on the evening of February 11th, he accepted Wilson-Raybould’s resignation from cabinet. He also stated in regards to matters of SNC-Lavalin, the Government of Canada did its job and if anyone felt differently, they had an obligation to raise concerns over the SNC-Lavalin case with him.
“No one, including Jody, did that,” he said. “This government always takes its responsibilities seriously and we make sure we do our job and we do it properly. If anyone felt that was not the case, particularly [Wilson-Raybould], it was her responsibility to let me know that. She said nothing to me last fall.”
PM Trudeau also added that his government’s commitment to reconciliation is larger than any one person and will continue to work closely with their Indigenous partners. However, Indigenous leaders including the National Chief of AFN Perry Bellegarde are questioning his commitment to reconciliation.
The National Chief Bellegarde released a statement on his social media pages his response to Wilson-Raybould’s resignation announcement.
“I am saddened to learn today of the resignation from cabinet of Veterans Affairs and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s appointment as Minister of Justice and Attorney General was celebrated by many First Nations people as a tremendous accomplishment and testament to her expertise, experience and intellect,” stated Bellegarde. “I had looked forward to working with her as Minister of Veterans Affairs because I strongly in justice for First Nations veterans. I am concerned about the many unanswered questions about Jody Wilson-Raybould’s departure and this is echoed by many First Nations across the country.”
In PM Trudeau’s statement, he addressed the concerns of Indigenous Chiefs’ including Bellegarde.
“Many Canadians, including Indigenous Canadians, rightfully have questions. That’s why we are working hard on answering them…highlighting for folks that are puzzled by Wilson-Raybould’s decision to step down, they can add me to the list. I was surprised and disappointed,” said PM Trudeau.
Minister Harjit Sajjan has immediately taken over Wilson-Raybould’s responsibilities as acting Minister of Veterans Affairs.