VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – More independent voices, less partisanship: Jody Wilson Raybould says that’s what we need in Ottawa if we really want to achieve true reconciliation with our indigenous peoples.
In her new book, From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada, the former Attorney General and Justice Minister calls for a greater diversity of voices in Parliament, “whether they be independent MPs or more independently-minded members of political parties, where the focus is on ideas and issues.”
She agrees the current federal election campaign has been particularly nasty. “It does seem like we’re having discussions not on the important issues but pitting individuals against each other,” she says. “And that’s not how we’re going to be able to drill down and come up with the best solutions. People want their voices to be heard and people should always, in my opinion, trump hyper-partisanship.”
Wilson Raybould herself is running for re-election in Vancouver Granville as an independent after she was dismissed from the Liberal caucus earlier this year over the SNC Lavalin affair. Though the scandal isn’t the main focus of her book, Wilson Raybould does reflect on some of its lessons, like its implications on the Rule of Law. “Whether you’re the Attorney General or not, [we must be] constantly vigilant about ensuring we uphold those very rules that enable us to live in the country that we do,” she maintains.
LISTEN: From Where I Stand
Wilson Raybould also has no regrets about how she handled herself during the crisis or her status as an independent member of parliament. “I’m in the place that I am supposed to be and I will continue to advocate for indigenous reconciliation.”
However, it should be noted that the book is a collection of her speeches and writings over a 10 year period and not a memoir. In fact, when asked, Wilson Raybould pushes back at any suggestion this was a lost opportunity for a tell-all. “I’m proud of this book. It is a book that speaks to an important public policy issue, it’s a bit reflective, and it provides solutions.”
So, if you’re looking for the inside story on the SNC Lavalin affair and Wilson Raybould’s role in it, you’ll just have to wait. “In terms of a memoir, in terms of my experience as a cabinet minister, that’s a story that I will tell, someday, not now, but in the future.”
For now, she is happy to be an independent advocate for reconcilation. “No-one said this work was easy, it’s certainly complicated,” she admits. Wilson Raybould presents what she feels is the best way forward, “in terms of embracing Section 35 of the constitution, recognition of rights of indigenous peoples, and creating the space, which I talk a lot about in the book, for the rebuilding of indigenous nations within Canada.”
From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada is available from Purich Books, an imprint of UBC Press.