Bill Wilson expects his daughter to face the difficult decisions she must face in the days ahead with the same “calm eloquence” she showed during her testimony before the Commons justice committee this week.On Wednesday, former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould told the committee she was pressured — by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his staff, Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, senior aides in the Prime Minister’s Office including former principal secretary Gerald Butts and chief of staff Katie Telford, and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself — to direct federal prosecutors to defer the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on corruption and fraud charges and negotiate a remediation agreement instead.Tucked into to her precise and methodical account were several nods to her home and heritage.“I come from a long line of matriarchs and I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of our Big House,” she said. “This is who I am, and this is always who I will be. Gilakas’la. Thank you.”Bill Wilson said he was not surprised by his daughter’s grace under pressure.“She was trained by her mother and grandmother to be a leader of her tribe,” said the Kwakwaka’wakw hereditary chief from his home on Vancouver Island. “I was impressed by her preparedness though. She must get that from somewhere else, because I’m not that way.”
Jody Wilson-Raybould’s father, Kwakwaka’wakw chief Bill Wilson in Vancouver, September 10, 2009.
Jason Payne /
Wilson is no stranger to power and sparred with Pierre Trudeau during constitutional talks in the 1980s, telling the prime minister he had two daughters who wanted his job.“I had no doubt whatsoever that one of my daughters would hold high office,” he told Postmedia. “(But) when the time came, I think she was dismissed as an Indian and as a woman … They thought they could push her around.”Wilson-Raybould’s sister Kory Wilson said she was proud of her sister, who is “doing OK” and taking strength from “knowing she spoke truth to power.”“I think she was asked to do a job, and she’s done it,” said Kory Wilson, who is the executive director of BCIT’s Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships.Bill Wilson also noted the irony of an Indigenous woman “protecting” Canadian law, which has at times been used to harm First Nations people. Wilson-Raybould’s father said he doesn’t know if she’ll remain in the Liberal caucus.“Certainly she’s got to run again, but whether it’s as a Liberal, I don’t know,” he said.Wilson said he doesn’t believe the other parties are an option for his daughter, but she could decide to sit as an independent.
Bill Wilson speaks at the 27th Annual General Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations in Vancouver July 12, 2006. Wilson was defeated in his bid to the Office of National Chief of Assembly by Phil Fontaine of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba.
Ric Ernst /
Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef, who added Minister of International Development to her portfolio in a cabinet shuffle Friday, said she was happy Wilson-Raybould was able to share her perspective.“Canadians wanted that, we wanted that,” said the MP for Peterborough-Kawartha.Asked about Wilson-Raybould’s future with the Liberal Party, she deferred to the prime minister. “I think the prime minister said it best: He is going to take the time to consider this, and I have full confidence in his ability to make the right call.”Monsef also said that there is pressure in a minister’s job, but she doesn’t believe it is undue, in her experience.“There is no denying that there is pressure to do well in these jobs, pressure to get it right, because the decisions that we make, they have significant impacts in the lives of Canadians and people around the world,” she said.Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said that based on his experience as a cabinet minister and what Wilson-Raybould said in her testimony, he doesn’t believe the pressure she was under was unusual.“I would say that we are often faced with complex and important, difficult issues as ministers of the Crown, and it is incumbent on us to seek out and explore every possible option relevant to making an appropriate decision,” he said.“The kinds of communications that Jody talked about in her statement between ministers and between staff of ministers is natural and normal.”When asked if he had experienced pressure as a minister, Wilkinson said minister “I live in a bottle of pressure all of the time” from parties both within and outside of government.“So, you’re always under pressure, but are you under undue pressure? Is somebody trying to direct you to do something? That’s the question. We live in an environment of pressure, there’s no way around that. It’s part of the job,” he said.In regard to Wilson-Raybould’s future with the Liberal Party, Wilkinson said the prime minister, caucus and Wilson-Raybould need to take time to consider the options.Cloverdale-Langley City Liberal MP John Aldag, when asked whether he believed Wilson-Raybould was under “consistent and sustained” pressure, said, “For me, a key issue is one of how individuals perceive things in life, including in this case what constitutes pressure. And that seems to be at the heart of this issue. In cases of perception, I am of the mind that one truth simply cannot be found.”Postmedia has contacted all B.C. Liberal MPs for comment on Wilson-Raybould’s testimony repeatedly since Wednesday. Two — Ken Hardie and Randeep Sarai — responded on Thursday, while eight responded on Friday. Terry Beech, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Ron McKinnon, Joe Peschisolido and Hedy Fry were unavailable to comment because they were travelling.Related email@example.com/glendaluymesLISTEN: This week on In The House, Mike Smyth and Rob Shaw discuss NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s victory in the federal Burnaby-South byelection, the NDP government’s response to threatened school closures in Vancouver, the latest in the legislature spending scandal and the province’s response to a measles outbreak.