[Murphy] Trudeau's handling of Wilson-Raybould undercuts his promise to women, aboriginals

[Murphy] Trudeau’s handling of Wilson-Raybould undercuts his promise to women, aboriginals

Opinion
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“How bad is it?”

“How bad is it …? Well, I hear they’re planning a second trip to India. With brighter costumes and longer dances. That’s how bad. To kick it off they’re going to rename the Rideau River ‘Ganges West.’”

— Mutterings from the Glebe rumour mill.

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Equipoise (n.): a perfect balance of forces.

We are in a rare moment in Canadian politics, a moment of equipoise. It’s rare because equipoise, even in the state of nature is, at least, infrequent. But in politics, it’s a once-in-a-century event when a lone backbench member of Parliament who is, crucially in this case, both female and Aboriginal, holds a power potentially on par with the prime minister.

It is of course Jody Wilson-Raybould who is this phoenix, and it may be of use to outline why, and how, she has come to own such centrality.

Mainly because her prime minister, Mr. Trudeau, through clumsiness, inadvertence and possibly malice, has bestowed it upon her. To begin, all stems from Scott Brison’s flight to a job at BMO, triggering the fatal cabinet shuffle that abruptly banished “Jody” (as the prime minister prefers to call her) from the highest position an Aboriginal woman has ever achieved in cabinet — justice minister and attorney general — to veterans affairs, a portfolio badly mauled and mismanaged by Mr. Trudeau’s friend and colleague, Seamus O’Regan.

Then on the heels of Globe and Mail revelations about the SNC-Lavalin affair, the series of ever-evolving slippery rationalizations for why she was demoted — variously equivocating, self-contradictory, rude, insulting and completely one-sided — has deeply offended Canadians’ sense of elementary fairness.

Among these, the most dangerous was Mr. Trudeau, as this affair reached full boil, fastening on that “she was still in cabinet” as proof all was well, nothing to see here. The lethal formulation given was “the fact she’s still in cabinet speaks for itself.”

Within hours of that comment, Ms. Wilson-Raybould was not in cabinet. She resigned. Ten thousand laptops tapped in unison “well then, her resignation speaks even louder.” And all of them were right.

The very key, however, was that during all the prime minister’s soliloquies, random press briefings and changing storylines, his “victim,” the lone female Aboriginal MP, bound still by the solicitor-client privilege of a former attorney general, was forced to be silent.

The treatment of Ms. Wilson-Raybould put a big, bold, strike-through line on the absolute core elements of the Trudeau brand. It crisscrossed so many cardinal Trudeau pretensions it was almost enough to tempt belief in trendy “intersectionality.” (Almost.)

This article continues at [London Free Press] Rex Murphy: Trudeau’s mistreatment of a female Aboriginal minister destroys all his progressive pretensions

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