Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew has harshly criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his treatment of the former Justice Minister.
He said the Liberal government’s treatment of Jody Wilson-Raybould deteriorated the party’s reputation with Canada’s indigenous population.
In an interview with CTV’s Evan Solomon, Kinew said that indigenous people have “made up their mind” on the issue.
The SNC-Lavalin scandal
Following reports that the Prime Minister’s Office allegedly tried to pressure former Justice Minister, Wilson-Raybould into asking prosecutors to draw up a remediation deal with SNC-Lavalin, the former attorney general announced her resignation from cabinet.
This happened after Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of her position as justice minister and put in charge of Veterans Affairs.
Wilson-Raybould has not drawn a direct connection between her resignation and the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
Since her resignation, there have been numerous reports from anonymous Liberal insiders called her “a thorn in the side of cabinet” and “difficult to work with.”
Trudeau condemned the comments calling them sexist and racist.
Damage is done
Wab Kinew said the “damage is done.”
He added that many indeginous leaders and “grassroots folks” are upset with Wilson-Raybould’s treatment, and the message it sends.
Former Justice Minister Peter MacKay also said the SNC-Lavalin scandal created a big brand problem for the Liberals, calling the former attorney general everything Trudeau’s progressiveness embodied.
A prominent B.C. Chief also said the Liberals have done serious damage with First Nation voters. Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said the prime minister’s handling of the situation involving Wilson-Raybould will cost him “all First Nation votes.”
“I believe that there’s going to be a big price to be paid for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the upcoming election in October,” he said.
The House of Commons justice committee has agreed to study the issue. However, they have no plan yet to invite senior PMO officials or Wilson-Raybould herself to appear for questioning.