Several Liberal MPs have spoken out over the demotion and subsequent resignation of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Wilson-Raybould was demoted to the veterans affairs portfolio last month in a cabinet shuffle less than three months after a Globe and Mail report alleged the Prime Minister’s Office pressured her to abandon the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
She resigned from that post last week amid mounting pressure for her and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to explain the government’s discussions about the SNC-Lavalin prosecution.
Despite Conservative and NDP pressure to have Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau’s former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, testify before the House of Commons justice committee, the committee’s Liberal MPs, who make up the majority of its members, have refused.
Even so, several Liberal MPs have spoken up in support of dealing with the allegations seriously.
Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains stressed the need to have Wilson-Raybould appear before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
“I think right now the challenge is that we need to hear from the (former) attorney general herself. I can’t speak on her behalf,” said Bains.
New Brunswick Liberal MP Wayne Long tweeted that the committee must bring in Wilson-Raybould and other relevant PMO officials to testify on the allegations of interference.
Whitby MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes also took to Twitter to voice her support for Wilson-Raybould
“As someone on the inside, who knows (Wilson-Raybould), I can tell you that she is fierce, smart and unapologetic,” she said. “When women speak up and out, they are always going to be labelled. Go ahead. Label away. We are not going anywhere.”
The clear condemnation of her own party was followed by another tweet criticizing Justice Committee Chair Anthony Housefather for suggesting Wilson-Raybould was removed because she does not speak French.
While so far quiet since her resignation, Wilson-Raybould has retweeted several messages of encouragement, and a video of her father saying she was “kicked in the teeth” by getting demoted to Minister of Veterans Affairs.
Wilson-Raybould was the British Columbia regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations and was considered the most influential Indigenous politician in Canada.
Northwest Territories Liberal MP Michael McLeod has been critical of the loss of the only Indigenous cabinet minister.
“She’s always been there to hear me out and has stood up for the north and stood up on Indigenous issues and brought Indigenous issues forward,” he said.”So I’m disappointed that’s not going to be there anymore.”
Wilson-Raybould remains a member of the Liberal caucus, but there is a clear divide within the governing Liberals over the handling of SNC-Lavalin fiasco.
On Tuesday, it was reported that the Justice Committee will be inviting Jody Wilson-Raybould to appear as a witness, but there is no indication staff from the Prime Minister’s office will appear.