Indian In The Cabinet: A Look Back At SNC-Lavalin

Writing On The Wall: Review of Indian in the Cabinet (2021)

Remember Jody Wilson-Raybould? She’s the former Trudeauvian Minister of Justice and Attorney-General who — incredible as it sounds — insisted upon telling the truth, a course that must have seemed all but inconceivable to the PM and his appointed viziers.

In her 2021 memoir, Indian In The Cabinet, Wilson-Raybould, an Indigenous Canadian who uses the belittling term “Indian” to purposeful effect in the title, details how she would not be moved from her non-interventionist stance in the notorious SNC-Lavalin legal prosecution, despite the PMO’s repeated attempts at political interference.

In telling this story, she paints a highly revealing and disturbing portrait of a Machiavellian, power-hungry PM surrounded by a blindly supportive flock of cabinet ministers all too ready to affirm his king-like powers and do his partisan bidding.

“So many times after Cabinet meetings ministers would groan about how everything was staged and how their opinions did not matter,” Wilson-Raybould writes. “Or they’d grumble about how they did not want to say anything because they knew how the PM or the PMO felt about an issue. Few have said this publicly. Few ever will. So we have a system where people at the top – despite having sworn a Privy Council oath to faithfully, honestly, and truly declare their mind and opinion – are not vocalizing what they think the best decision should be in private, at the Cabinet table, or in public to the people who elected them.”

Trudeau and his closest aides repeatedly applied “undue pressure” upon Wilson-Raybould to get her to interfere in the SNC-Lavalin prosecution, she writes, and continued even after she advised them, in her independent capacity as Attorney General, that they were acting inappropriately under Canadian law — that they were attempting, in short, to subvert the course of justice.

“When AGs are ‘yes men’ – acting more as the leader’s lawyer than the lawyer for Canadians – we are all in trouble,” she writes.

For the affrontery of insisting upon an arm’s-length relationship between the executive-legislative and judicial branches of Canadian government – and essentially, frustrating the wishes of the king — she was pulled from her dual portfolio (Minister of Justice as well as AG) and pilloried with a smear campaign orchestrated by Liberal cult insiders.

Indian In The Cabinet was published two years ago (2021) but is an easy read and still stands as a relevant portrait of a malignant government regime that, for all of its progressive posturing, is pushing Canada down a slippery slope of corruption, dystopia, incompetence and small-F fascism.

Canadians have amazingly short memories. The SNC-Lavalin affair is now just one in a receding parade of Trudeau-government gaffes, scandals, embarrassments and conflicts: Aga Khan, dressing in blackface, playing Mr Dressup, Vice-Admiral Norman, Julie Payette, General Vance, the WE controversy, cancelling the freedoms and bank accounts, endorsing lies about mass burial sites of Indigenous schoolchildren (thereby helping to incite a spree of arson attacks against churches) and making allegations of murder without evidence against the Indian government.

And the latest, and most outrageous of all: orchestrating a standing ovation in Parliament for a member of the Nazi SS, a disgraceful and embarrassing spectacle that received attention all around the world.

Trudeau come across in these pages as a duplicitous, bald-faced liar, a snake and weasel combined, the sort of person who wouldn’t know the truth if it appeared in the Cabinet room as writing on the wall. Although Wilson-Raybould didn’t say so explicitly, she might have described him as the sort of “white man” of whom the “red man” may once have characterized as speaking with forked tongue.

Wilson-Raybould writes that she was initially glad to meet Trudeau and become part of his team. After enduring his multiple manipulations and lies, she departed from him by telling him she was sorry she had ever met him. That is called “Speaking Truth to Power,” which happens to be the subtitle of her book.

I’m not totally a fan of Wilson-Raybould; in many ways she’s ingested the progressive (“woke”) kool-aid to the extent that she’s indistinguishable from many of her former Liberal cohorts (she now sits as an Independent). But I admire her for standing up for a hallowed principle of Canadian justice in the face of what must have been incredible pressure from the top. ♦