OPINION: PM, Liberal caucus complicit in actions more suited to word ‘unconscionable’

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 5:48pm


Image Caption

Andy Callicum, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Vice-President, and Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council


“This latest move by the Prime Minister to remove a resilient indigenous woman, Jody WilsonRaybould, speaks volumes to Indigenous peoples across this country.” —Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) decries the removal of Jody WilsonRaybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus yesterday. 

To NTC, it strongly shows that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cannot work with strong, principled women in a way that can keep his Liberal caucus intact.  We have heard his and other caucus members reasoning as to why it was necessary to remove them from caucus, but people can rationalize any decision.  If trust is broken as they say, trust can always be rebuilt.  

“First Nations have always said that trust with Canada is non-existent but we are willing to work with the federal government to try and repair the relationship.  If First Nations, who have had trust broken time and again and yet are still willing to work with the federal government, why is he not willing to work with two valuable individuals in his caucus?” questioned Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers, President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.

“The Prime Minister says that Jody Wilson-Raybould has not expressed her confidence in him and the government.  The mere fact that Ms. Wilson-Raybould wants to remain in a party that has not treated her well says to me that she has confidence in the Prime Minister and the caucus.  Otherwise, why else would she want to stay in a party where tension runs high if she didn’t believe they could continue to work together,” continued Sayers.

“This latest move by the Prime Minister to remove a resilient indigenous woman, Jody WilsonRaybould, speaks volumes to Indigenous peoples across this country.  Is this a Prime Minister who values his relationship with Indigenous Peoples?  Is this a Prime Minister that supports women? Is this a Prime Minister who will fulfil all his promises to Indigenous peoples, like implementing UNDRIP and the TRC Calls to Action and to respect and implement a Nation-to-Nation relationship?

“Trudeau already has a poor track record of keeping his promises to Indigenous peoples and this deteriorates further any belief that he will do what he says and how he treats Indigenous peoples.  With an election in October, I don’t think he can repair the damage he has done over the SNC Lavalin affair from removing Jody Wilson-Raybould as Minister of Justice and Attorney General to removing her from cabinet.”

Andy Callicum, NTC Vice-President added, “The Prime Minister referred to Jody’s recording of the phone conversation with Michael Wernick as ‘unconscionable’, yet his actions and the actions of his party faithful, by aggressively pushing an agenda of corporate favouritism, by pressuring the Attorney General to circumvent the rule of law for political gain, then responding to the emerging scandal with false denials and (conveniently) inconsistent recollections, it all demonstrates to me that the Prime Minister and his caucus are complicit in a sum of actions that are much more suited to the word ‘unconscionable’.

“A good leader surrounds themselves with people of integrity and conviction; people who keep them honest, who help them see things from all perspectives and see the forest for the trees. Instead, the Prime Minister has chosen to move in the opposite direction, and it does not look good for him.”

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council recognizes that once actions are taken, it is hard to undo the damage done and the Prime Minister is doing nothing for damage control, and in fact has continued to keep this issue in the public eye and creating negative reactions.  We ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Are you willing to repair the damage felt by First Nations over the past months by these actions towards Jody Wilson Raybould?