#365Indigenous: Jody Wilson Raybould – Puglaas

Jody Wilson Raybould is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation and a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples who are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw and Kwak’wala speaking peoples.

Raybould worked as a prosecutor on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside before joining the BC Treaty Commission. She later worked as a commissioner at the First Nations Summit working on complex treaty negotiations between governments and First Nations. After serving as chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations, she ran for the federal Liberal party and became an MP for the Vancouver Granville riding in 2015. She became Canada’s first Indigenous Attorney General/MInister of Justice where she fulfilled part of her mandate to pass legislation on medically assisted dying, Bill C-64. 

In her time as Attorney General she reviewed the  government’s litigation strategy and issued the Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples. 

Writing in the Globe and Mail, Raybould notes that “many aspects of formal relations between Indigenous peoples and the Crown remain based on “denial.” For example, Indigenous peoples have to prove their rights in court even though they are recognized by section 35 of Canada’s Constitution. This costs all of us hundreds of millions of dollars and takes years. Reconciliation cannot emerge without undoing colonial laws and legacies that are based on denial. For reconciliation to fully manifest itself in Canada, denial must be ended in all of its aspects, and recognition must become the foundation of relations.”

While introducing a vast swath of legislation on everything from the legalization of cannabis to changes to Canada’s criminal code, Raybould was outspoken about the slow pace of reconciliation in Canada. In 2019, she was shuffled to the position of Minister of Veteran’s Affairs. Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that Prime Minister Truedeau allegedly had attempted to exert influence over Wilson Raybould concerning an ongoing prosecution of SNC-Lavalin while she was Minister of Justice and Attorney General. After Trudeau denied allegations that he exerted undue influence over her in an attempt to intervene to defer prosecution of the Quebec-based construction company, Raybould Wilson resigned from cabinet amidst widespread public support. She now sits as an independent Member of Parliament. 

Her book, “From Where I Stand”, offers her perspectives on how to move forward with reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

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