That’s when Jody Wilson-Raybould, the UBC-educated lawyer from the We Wai Kai Nation, released a long, detailed memo explaining her accomplishments as Minister of Justice and Attorney General—on the very day Justin Trudeau demoted her to the Veterans Affairs portfolio.
“The role of the Attorney General of Canada carries with it unique responsibilities to uphold the rule of law and the administration of justice, and as such demands a measure of principled independence,” she wrote. (I’m bolding the sections that seem particularly germane today.) “It is a pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political interference and uphold the highest levels of public confidence. As such, it has always been my view that the Attorney General of Canada must be non-partisan, more transparent in the principles that are the basis of decisions, and, in this respect, always willing to speak truth to power. This is how I served throughout my tenure in that role.”
Look, that’s just an odd thing to write if you’re mostly interested in bragging about your legislative accomplishments.
I’ve seen a lot of attorneys general leave that post, and none felt the need to remind everyone that they had sought to avoid “even the perception of political interference.” Absent any pressure to do things that might give the perception of political interference, it would seem as extraneous as writing, “I worked hard to keep the mail-room budget under control” or “I tried to maintain excellent posture during Question Period.”
None of that proves a thing, of course. It’s not a smoking gun. It’s more of a… I don’t know, a smoke-filled room. But it is damned interesting reading in the context of today’s Globe and Mail line story. (It’s paywalled. Pay up.) The story asserts, on the basis of unnamed sources, that Wilson-Raybould “came under heavy pressure to persuade the Public Prosecution Service of Canada” to cut a “deferred prosecution arrangement” with SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., the mammoth Montreal engineering and construction firm, to forestall a trial over corruption and fraud charges.