Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wilson-Raybould Forced out of Caucus


You understand that history is repeating itself.  The King has challenged the Sanctity of Justice and the public would have understood this whatever cover story was told.  Had she simply folded, it would still have not gone away.  Instead she took a principled position knowing the consequences. 

Now the caucus has decided that she is some kind of traitor.

What is more, the Prime Minister did have an option.   He could have called a cabinet meeting to deal with it.   In that meeting, he could have outlined the unique national interest been invoked and opened the floor to discussion.  Then called a vote.  The cabinet could then vote to overide the Attorney General who could then have resigned forthwith.  At that point the PM could have rejected the resignation and that would have been the possible end of the matter.

Being the National Interest, the voters would have accepted this.

I see two options forward for Jody now.  The obvious one is to immediately cross the aisle and join the Conservative party.  This would likely put her back in as AG after the election.  This has to be very attractive now.  She will also bring several million first nation voters with her.

The other option is to sit as an independent awaiting a chance to rejoin the party and then run for the leadership which she would win.  Unfortunately, she would possibly lose the election coming up as the Liberals will split her vote in her riding.  I do not think they are too forgiving now.

In either case, i do do think she is a future Prime Minister, but in either case she is likely two terms away, particularly if the Liberals are seriously diminished this fall.  They have lost the West again and Jody is their best hope for bringing that back..

Wilson-Raybould warned that moving her from justice portfolio would be 'a mistake'
'My eyes are wide open on this shift,' ex-justice minister wrote of her move to Veterans Affairs

New documents tabled with the Commons justice committee shed more light on Jody Wilson-Raybould's shuffle from justice to Veterans Affairs. (Chris Wattie/Reuters Peter Foley/EFE/EPA/Reuters, Patrick Doyle/Reuters)

Jody Wilson-Raybould grew increasingly agitated about being moved from the justice portfolio — and public perceptions of her shuffle — despite repeated assurances from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his former top adviser, new documents released by the Commons justice committee reveal.

Gerry Butts, the prime minister's former principal secretary, tabled with the committee dozens of pages of text messages and a transcript of a Jan. 7 conversation between himself, Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould which took place one week before the Jan. 14 cabinet shuffle.

The transcript of that call, which took place while Wilson-Raybould was vacationing in Bali, confirms that the B.C. MP told the prime minister she believed she was being shifted out of justice "for other reasons." Trudeau told her the shuffle would not be happening if Scott Brison hadn't resigned as Treasury Board president.

Butts' submission includes text messages he exchanged with Wilson-Raybould in subsequent days, which show the two finding it difficult to connect for a telephone conversation.

"Timing of pushing me out (which will be the perception, whether true or not) is terrible. It will be confounding and perplexing to people," reads one text from Wilson-Raybould.

She went on to remind Butts that the government can boast of a "robust and proud record" on advancing justice under her watch, and said that moving her would be a mistake.

"I feel compelled to say, one last time, and it is my unreserved view, that what is being proposed is a mistake, irrespective of where I am going," she wrote.

'My eyes are wide open'

"There is no way to explain this. My eyes are wide open on this shift."

The SNC-Lavalin matter was never specifically mentioned in the texts, which are redacted, but Wilson-Raybould has testified that she believes she was shuffled over her refusal to overturn a decision by the director of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada not to offer the Montreal-based engineering firm a remediation agreement as an alternative to criminal prosecution.

Butts offered an explanation for the move, insisting that much of the heavy lifting had been done on the Justice file and that a solid minister was required to head up the Veterans Affairs portfolio, a department with one of the biggest budgets.

"I know this is tough, but we have very good ideas to make it all work from a comms perspective," Butts wrote in one text message. "There's an opportunity here for you to show people a side of yourself and your talent you did not get as MOJAG."

According to Butts' notes, in the initial call with Trudeau on Jan. 7 — when the shuffle was discussed — the prime minister said justice was going to be in "defence" mode up to the election, while Indigenous Services was in "execution mode."

"Need our best players to move to pitch in. Need Canadians to buy in. You are one of top players and this will show Canadians how seriously we take this," says Trudeau, according to the transcript of Butts' notes.

Political legacy
"I know it is not your dream job but it is core to this government to maintain a legacy and to be crass about it to our political legacy," Butts wrote in his account of Trudeau's words to Wilson-Raybould.

In a text, Butts said that offering Wilson-Raybould the Veterans Affairs post after she turned down the Indigenous Services file was an "extraordinary" step for the PM to take.

Earlier today, Liberal members of the Commons justice committee used their majority to defeat a Conservative motion to call more witnesses, including Trudeau and several of his top aides, to testify on the SNC-Lavalin matter.

Butts submitted the new documents after Wilson-Raybould tabled 43 pages of new materials — including a written statement, copies of texts and a 17-minute audio recording of a Dec. 19 telephone conversation with Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick. The clerk did not know he was being recorded.

The disclosure of the covert recording has angered many Liberal MPs, with some of them calling it inappropriate and dishonourable.

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