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Jody Wilson-Raybould, the country’s first Indigenous justice minister who was expelled from the Liberal Party after she refused to intervene in a criminal proceeding, will not be running as an Independent in the upcoming general election.
Ms. Wilson-Raybould announced Thursday that she decided against seeking re-election because she is discouraged by the political system in Parliament that she said is too focused on partisanship over the public good.
“From my seat in the last six years, I have noticed a change in Parliament, a regression,” she wrote in a statement Thursday. “It has become more and more toxic and ineffective while simultaneously marginalizing individuals from certain backgrounds. Federal politic is, in my view, increasingly a disgraceful triumph of harmful partisanship over substantive action.”
Reporter’s Comment Robert Fife: “It comes as no surprise that Jody Wilson-Raybould is not seeking re-election. Backbench MPs in major parties have little voice. It is even less so for Independent MPs. But Ms. Wilson-Raybould leaves a lasting legacy after only six years in Parliament, and only three years as Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister. It’s rare in politics to see a cabinet minister stand up to a Prime Minister and his powerful backroom lieutenants on principle. Ms. Wilson-Raybould would not bend to relentless political pressure to drop the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. She paid a heavy price for it politically but she set a high bar for other politicians to aspire. Regrettably, her ouster from the Trudeau cabinet set back reconciliation efforts that had brought her into politics in the first place.”
Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s July 8 letter to Vancouver-Granville constituents is here.
In 2019, Justice Writer Sean Fine and Feature Writer Erin Anderssen wrote about the life and career of Ms. Wilson-Raybould in Why Jody Wilson-Raybould was destined to speak truth to power. The story is here.
LEGAL BATTLE THREATENED - A legal battle over Ottawa’s refusal to release uncensored records regarding the firing of two federal scientists from the country’s top infectious-disease laboratory appears set to stretch beyond a possible fall election – and could be extinguished entirely if the Liberals win a majority government.
INTERPRETERS SEEK RESETTLEMENT -Dozens of Afghan interpreters and others who worked for the Canadian government during its military mission in Afghanistan are hoping to be resettled in Canada amid fears their lives are in danger from Taliban reprisals as the U.S. withdraws its troops from the war-torn country.
PAUL LOSES KEY STAFF - The Green Party significantly diminished leader Annamie Paul’s support team on Wednesday, temporarily laying off key staff members just weeks before she faces a possible ouster. The move is the latest blow to the beleaguered leader, whose party executive has called a non-confidence vote on her tenure for July 20.
INFRASTRUCTURE BANK WON’T DISCLOSE BONUSES - The Canada Infrastructure Bank is refusing to disclose bonuses paid to executives despite a unanimous vote by MPs on a House of Commons committee calling for the amounts to be revealed.
FINANCE DELAYS SMALL-BUISNESS TAX LAW - The federal Finance Department is asserting that it has the power to freeze a law passed by Parliament that gives more generous tax treatment to small businesses, in what experts are calling a break with parliamentary tradition and federal law. Story here.
REBUILD QUEEN STATUES: PALLISTER - Statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth torn down by protesters on the Manitoba legislature grounds will be rebuilt, Premier Brian Pallister says. “Tearing down is a lot simpler than building up,” Pallister said at his first news conference since the statues were pulled down on Canada Day.
CABINET SHUFFLE IN ALBERTA - Details here on a cabinet shuffle announced Thursday by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. From CBC
TIME CAPSULE - SIMON versus TRUDEAU
Interesting footage here from 1984 as Mary Simon, Canada’s new Governor-General, spars with Pierre Trudeau, the Prime Minister of the day and father of the current Prime Minister, over equality rights. It puts this week’s announcement in an interesting perspective. From the CBC.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
In Coquitlam, B.C., the Prime Minister attends private meetings, and convenes a meeting of the Incident Response Group to discuss the wildfires and extreme weather impacts in Western Canada. He then makes an early learning and child care announcement with British Columbia Premier John Horgan, and meets with the Premier. Later, the Prime Minister meets with Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman, Lytton First Nation Chief Janet Webster, and Chair of the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council Chief Matt Pasco.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet continues his summer tour of the Quebec North Shore.
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole makes an announcement in Calgary.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds a news conference on housing in Duncan, B.C. and later attends the 39 Days of July Cowichan Summer Festival, also in Duncan.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the accelerating federal Liberal election train: “But other than campaign-style spending announcements, those 19 MPs thoughtfully giving their riding associations 2½ years’ notice, the polls consistently favouring the Liberals, the success of the vaccination campaign, the weakness of the opposition, the naked election planning by the Liberals (and, at this point, by the other parties, too), and Mr. Trudeau’s obvious desire to regain his majority in Parliament, what other evidence is there of an election? Three words: high-frequency rail.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the federal Liberal absence of a plan for the border: “Mr. Trudeau has hinted easing of the rules will come within weeks. Yet it’s a mystery. Canadian officials express concerns that they don’t have the capacity to deal with lineups at the border, a byproduct of a failure to plan that may be delaying decisions. The vague, “stay tuned” non-information from the Liberal government will cause its own problems. The best way to reopen a border smoothly is by telling everyone how it will work. Canada’s tourism industry doesn’t know if vaccinated American visitors will be allowed in in two weeks or two months, or what those people will need to visit. They’re asking. But the Liberal government doesn’t seem to have a plan.”
Mohammed Adam (The Ottawa Citizen) on the case for Catherine McKenna as Ottawa mayor: “Ottawans may be happy with their nice, small-town image, but the feeling is that if they want something more, someone with a different worldview is needed. That’s why it’s tantalizing to imagine McKenna as mayor. She is eminently qualified, and like Watson, has an appealing persona. And she has shown great inner strength in her short political career. Anyone who can take on combative premiers in the battle over a carbon tax and win, can only be admired.”
Kirk LaPointe (Business in Vancouver) on the possibility of Jody Wilson-Raybould running to be Vancouver mayor: “Her announcement Thursday that she will not run federally lends some credence – but by no means confirmation – that her options include entering the 2022 race to run the city. In statements on paper and on the air, she isn’t ruling it out. Hers would be a popular candidacy, no question. A chart I saw today suggests she would instantly be the most serious challenger to incumbent Kennedy Stewart, and two political strategists I know from conservative and progressive camps indicate she would find organizational and financial support without much stress.”
Andrew MacDougall (Maclean’s) on Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s need for principles, not miracles: “In other words, what Erin O’Toole needs to do is the hard work the Conservative coalition has largely avoided doing since Stephen Harper retired from active duty. It must listen to voices outside of its existing base and find new ways of appealing to a broader subset of Canadians. O’Toole needs to stick to principles, not pray for miracles.”
David Rodenhiser (CBC) on Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin’s mea culpa over impaired driving being more about damage control than real contrition: “Premier Iain Rankin’s confession Monday regarding his old impaired driving charges was more about damage control than public contrition. Surely he and his advisers would have planned for this day. Yet they came up with a response that was gratingly less than forthright — both in how he did it and what he said. Making his mea culpa at the beginning of Monday’s COVID-19 briefing was all about media management. Those are tightly controlled events at which reporters are restricted to two questions each. None of the reporters attending would have had any background on the story. So most stuck to what they were sent there to do and asked questions about COVID cases and vaccinations.”
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