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LETTER: What’s the real story behind Wilson-Raybould’s resignation?

Jody Wilson-Raybould, left, and Jane Philpott speak at the 2016 Liberal convention. - The Chronicle Herald
Jody Wilson-Raybould (left) and Jane Philpott speak at the 2016 Liberal convention. - file photo

This is in response to Martha Muzychka’s article, published March 7, “Not Just Roses on Trudeau’s Lapel.. First, I would make a correction to the Justin Trudeau quote. He did not say, “It’s 2016,” because it was 2015, an unfortunate slip.

Perhaps, more importantly, the article assumes Jody Wilson-Raybould’s scrap with the Prime Minister is about gender.

I think that simply confuses the issue. The bare facts are Wilson-Raybould was moved out of Justice to take on Veterans Affairs, then someone leaked a story to The Globe and Mail that she was pressured to interfere with a possible criminal trial of SNC Lavalin. When the Prime Minister released her to speak “her truth,” she accused him and 10 others of pressuring her to change a decision, and of moving her out of Justice because she refused to do that. They all deny it, and are surprised she felt pressured. She is not claiming she was moved because she was a woman, but because she refused to change her mind.

The facts are, of course, up for grabs.

Wilson-Raybould says it was one way. Trudeau, his advisor, Gerald Butts and the Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, say it was another.

I find Wilson-Raybould’s interpretation rather suspect. First of all, she doesn’t appear to have a problem with the situation until she is moved out of Justice to Veterans Affairs, after she refuses to take on Aboriginal Affairs. She is losing her “dream job” and then the crap hits the fan. Being pressured is a very subjective concept at any time. However, pressure is very much built into the world of politics and government. A cabinet minister’s life is full of pressure, both from within and from without. Perhaps anyone who must complain of that is not suited to the life.

When she brings the moral and ethical factors into play, we have to take a closer look. Politics is largely a team sport in Canada. 

You run with a team, you abide by caucus discipline, you vote with your team in the House. You all work under the direction of the Prime Minister to fulfill the team’s agenda.

However, it appears Wilson-Raybould, when asked to serve in Aboriginal Affairs said no, even though it is obvious she may have unique skills to contribute in this area. It seems when she didn’t get what she wanted, she rebelled and felt she was being punished for being difficult in the Justice portfolio. 

At any rate, the end result is the Liberal Party, the Prime Minister and all her colleagues are being thrown under the bus while Wilson-Raybould is telling “her truth,” a truth not shared by others.

In refusing the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, resigning altogether from cabinet and throwing the country into a tither, she has also taken the country’s attention from some very important issues, such as those in the aboriginal portfolio where the health and wellbeing of many people are affected. 

Then there is the oil industry in Western Canada where thousands of jobs are disappearing and the broader economic effects are spreading to the east. This issue is intermingled with climate change and the economic adjustments it is demanding. These are all pressing matters for Canadians, as are the jobs endangered by SNC-Lavalin’s alleged crimes. If we are talking honour and truth, we are in a very gray area, because it all depends on any single person’s ability to confront truth.

So what is the point of all this? Are we witnessing a tantrum that threatens to topple the government for no other reason than she could not accept a new job assignment, or does not want to accept she was not up to the “pressures” of a federal ministry? After all, as she herself admits, no laws were broken.

All Muzychka’s talk of roses on lapels and Trudeau’s not being feminist enough seem like a lot of hot air that diverts us from some more serious ethical issues at play here.

Marie Wade

Bay Roberts

Related story:

MARTHA MUZYCHKA: Not just roses on Trudeau’s lapel

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