The year before the pandemic, Jody Wilson-Raybould was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s worst headache.
In a speech she gave on May 19, the former justice minister and attorney general showed why she could become the prime minister’s worst nightmare.
“This practice, this hypocrisy, the assertion of Charter rights… but the denial of Indigenous rights is, in my opinion, the most insidious and vivid example of systemic racism rooted in the legacy of colonialism that remains. ubiquitous at the highest levels of government and the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Crown, ”Wilson-Raybould said.
Then she added a scorcher.
“The practice of denial has not changed. Sadly, in a shameful and disappointing way, we can take the current government as an illustration,” she told the audience for the School’s Tom Courchene Distinguished Speakers Series. of Policy Studies at Queen’s University.
It was not satisfied either to erase “the government” in the abstract. She directly named her former boss. It lit up in a speech Trudeau gave in the House of Commons on February 14, 2018, in which he “acknowledged that he and his government were aware of this long-standing hypocrisy” and promised much more than that. a box of heart-shaped chocolates to offset.
“Imagine the growing disappointment, the unsurprisingly familiar headache, the rising anger when… a few months after the Valentine’s Day speech, those aspirations were abandoned. The government doesn’t even talk about them anymore,” he said. she declared.
Wilson-Raybould calling Trudeau or his government is nothing new. His insistence on holding the Prime Minister and his consiglieres accountable during the SNC-Lavalin scandal took him out of Cabinet and ultimately out of the Liberal caucus. Supporters could also dismiss his criticisms as the lingering sour grapes of a former senior player in Liberal power circles now exiled to the country nowhere from Independent Vancouver MP Granville.
The weakness of such a dismissal is dangerous. This ignores the objective reality that Wilson-Raybould is an Independent Member of Parliament precisely because of her racial independence in the bone. As one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers, she refused to budge from her position of holding the role of attorney general in order to be independent.
Failure to recognize this reality risks underestimating the attractiveness of someone like Wilson-Raybould to pursue a path outside Parliament – and even challenge it directly. And such a path is now open for her.
In early July, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) holds a leadership vote to replace National Chief Perry Bellegarde. He announced last December that he would not run for a third term at the head of the organization that defends 900,000 First Nations people across Canada. One candidate has registered for the post so far. It is speculation whether Wilson-Raybould will add his name to the list.
As journalist Robert Fife wrote in a Globe and Mail story, “Former Liberal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould did not rule out running for the top post in the AFN. And written in the Hill time Earlier this month, Rose LeMay argued that such a figure is needed to tackle what she has identified as a serious #MeToo issue within AFN.
“Will this be the time when First Nations commit to respecting women in all aspects of governance of this national organization? Will women run for national leader, or is it still the old boys’ club? Asked LeMay, CEO of the Indigenous Reconciliation Group.
Last January, in a World An opinion column in anticipation of the AFN vote, Indigenous campaign organizer Tania Cameron has surveyed the past quarter-century of strong female candidates who have failed to break through this old network of boys.
“It was 10 women over the age of 26 who felt the sting of defeat, a disheartening result for any talented Aboriginal woman hoping to rise to high office,” Cameron wrote.
It turns out that Wilson-Raybould has obtained the high office of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. As she said in her speech at Queen’s University, her “experience at the center of government” showed her the disheartening effect of relying on Parliament to change the relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples.
Does that make his remarks the equivalent of kicking off the campaign for the top post in the AFN?
Barely. But even taken as an indication that she is considering a race, the implications for Canadian politics are profound. They are deeply meaningful to Indigenous causes, signaling the potential for radically different days to come.
For Trudeau, they would undoubtedly signify the paradox of sleepless nights and rude awakenings.
Peter Stockland is Senior Editor at Think Tank Cardus and Editor-in-Chief of Convivium.ca.
– Troy Media