THUNDER BAY – Fallout and comments follow the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal Cabinet.
Prime Minister Trudeau speaking to media in Winnipeg following a transit announcement said he was “surprised and puzzled by the resignation”.
With a heavy heart I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Prime Minister as a member of Cabinet… https://t.co/Ejjh8smwYO
— Jody Wilson-Raybould (@Puglaas) February 12, 2019
There is a mixed commentary of comments on Twitter following the resignation.
You taught me so much – particularly about Indigenous history, rights and justice. I’m proud of the laws we worked on together – C14 (assisted dying), C37 (harm reduction), C45 (public health approach to cannabis) and so much more. I know you will continue to serve Canadians. pic.twitter.com/veQ0ATPcz1
— Jane Philpott (@janephilpott) February 13, 2019
Statement on today’s resignation: pic.twitter.com/4yfrKwZOyn
— Perry Bellegarde (@perrybellegarde) February 12, 2019
While the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations is disappointed, there are stronger reactions from other Indigenous groups.
In a letter from the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip writes, “We demand that you immediately and categorically publicly condemn the racist and sexist innuendo about Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould that is being spread by unnamed elected officials and staff of your government in media reports.
“Statements from senior staffers and officials perpetuate a damaging and sexist image of Minister Wilson-Raybould as someone who was “a thorn in the side of cabinet,” “difficult to get along with,” and “known to berate fellow cabinet members at the table.” It has been reported by insiders of your government that she was someone “who others felt they had trouble trusting” and has reportedly “been in it for herself” such that “everything is very Jody-centric.”
“These disingenuous statements are cowardly, low blows aimed at discrediting the staunch work ethic Minister Wilson-Raybould has maintained. They perpetuate colonial-era, sexist stereotypes that Indigenous women cannot be powerful, forthright, and steadfast in positions of power, but rather confrontational, meddling and egotistic. These comments from your staff must be recognized for what they are – blatant sexism.
“We applaud and acknowledge Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes who has issued a statement that precisely captures the sexist agenda being carried out against Minister Wilson-Raybould: “As someone on the inside who knows (Wilson-Raybould), I can tell you she is fierce, smart and unapologetic. When women speak up and out, they are always going to be labelled. Go ahead. Label away.”
“Hopefully, Canadians will also see the negative conduct and discriminatory rhetoric for what it is: an attempt to save face and initiate damage control about the purported wrongdoings of your office by attacking and discrediting a prominent Indigenous woman and leader. This is not the first time you and your government has conducted itself in a disapprobation and inappropriate manner. Kukpi7 Judy Wilson still awaits your apology, as requested by the UBCIC Executive in December 2018, after your dismissive and patronizing conduct and comments towards her at the Assembly of First Nations meeting in Ottawa.
“We urge you to take responsibility for your behaviour and that of your government. If you do not condemn these harmful statements and apologize to Minister Wilson-Raybould, you not only reaffirm a colonial belief system that Indigenous women are inferior and disposable, but the hypocrisy of your professed feminism and “most important relationship” with Indigenous people will be laid bare for all Canadians to see.”
Sample of Twitter Feeds on Resignation and Response:
Trudeau throws Jody Wilson-Raybould under the bus while standing in a transit garage. You can’t write this. pic.twitter.com/KnBZfr7NXZ
— Niigaan Sinclair (@Niigaanwewidam) February 13, 2019
— Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) February 12, 2019