NDP MP Nathan Cullen speaks to Jody Wilson-Raybould as she arrives to appear at the House of Commons Justice Committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

COLUMN: JWR was the right person for the job

Former attorney general of Canada spoke truth to power to uphold the rule of law

The Jody Wilson-Raybould testimony has had me thinking.

After listening to her words live, then going home and watching it, I was left shaken. Our country is in an ethical crisis.

What is more important? The integrity of our justice system and upholding the rule of law, or bending the law to protect a company responsible for 9,000 jobs in Canada, and 3,400 in Quebec.

Jobs are always top of mind. It’s the reason the Trudeau government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in 2016 — which Kinder Morgan anticipated would create 37,000 jobs once in operation. When a new project is proposed for Prince Rupert we always ask, how many jobs will it create? Will there be training?

One one hand, it’s the federal government’s job to protect and foster job growth. But it was Wilson-Raybould’s job to protect the law, which is exactly what she did.

READ MORE: The significance of Jody Wilson-Raybould invoking Indigenous ‘Big House’ laws

In the final minutes of her testimony, she left Canadians with a definition of the rule of law that challenged the current government’s definition.

“It has always been my view that the attorney general of Canada must be non-partisan, more transparent in the principles that are the basis of decisions and, in this respect, always willing to speak truth to power,” Wilson-Raybould said.

Truth to power. She spoke her truth. Then while writing this column, Treasury Board president Jane Philpott spoke hers as well.

Philpott said in her resignation letter that “the solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system,” and she has “lost confidence” in how the government subjected the attorney general to political pressure to interfere with the criminal case against SNC-Lavalin.

This is a Montreal-based company that is being charged for bribing public officials in Libya to land contracts. SNC-Lavalin were involved in treating the Libyan dictator’s son Saadi Gaddafi, to box seats, concert tickets and sex workers when he visited Canada in 2008, according to a recent article by La Presse.

READ MORE: Jane Philpott resigns from Trudeau cabinet

The more this case unravels the worse it gets for Trudeau in his re-election year.

But the question for Canadians when they go to the polls on Oct. 21 is whether we want a government that bends the law in favour of jobs and the economy or do we want a government that upholds the law and supports the integrity of its attorney general.

This is going to be quite the election year.

To report a typo, email: editor@thenorthernview.com.

Shannon Lough | Editor

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