New MVA coming with Cabinet Shuffle

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Post by Rutherford on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 4:58 pm

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Post by Highlander on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 6:20 pm

Jody Wilson-Raybould on her exit as justice minister

The newly sworn-in minister of veterans affairs spoke to reporters about why her new job isn’t a demotion—and why she’s ‘incredibly proud’ of her work

by Shannon Proudfoot Jan 14, 2019



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Right after an unexpectedly eventful cabinet shuffle on Monday morning, the newly sworn-in Minister of Veterans Affairs, Jody Wilson-Raybould—who was replaced as justice minister and attorney general by David Lametti—spoke to reporters about her new post.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his newly tweaked cabinet took questions outside Rideau Hall on a January day so frigid that when new Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan tried to take a sip of water during his own remarks, he discovered he was holding a tumbler of ice.


Wilson-Raybould’s new portfolio is widely perceived as a demotion, based not on the value of the group she will serve, but on the fact that finance, foreign affairs and justice are traditionally seen as the most prominent and weighty cabinet profiles. The questions from reporters revolved around that interpretation—one she dismissed in the same manner the prime minister had a few minutes earlier.

Wilson-Raybould at first grasped her way through her comments, before picking up steam as she defended her work and results in the justice department. Below are some highlights of her remarks.

On whether she was disappointed with the results of the cabinet shuffle:

“No. And I would say that I can think of no world in which I would consider working for our veterans in Canada as a demotion.”

On whether she would have done anything differently as justice minister, given rumoured performance issues:

“Well, I can’t imagine where you’ve been hearing that. But in terms of the three-plus years I spent as the minister of justice and the attorney-general of Canada, I am incredibly proud of the work that I did, supported by an amazing minister’s staff, and by dedicated and hardworking public servants. We accomplished essentially my mandate letter, plus.


I was very proud to introduce 13 pieces of legislation, ranging from complex issues of medical assistance in dying to cannabis to impaired driving, to incredibly broad and bold reforms to the criminal justice system and family law, the latter two currently in the Senate…

In addition to the legislative agenda—which was entirely robust, as I said—we have accomplished amazing things in renovating and renewing an open and transparent judicial appointments process. I had the pleasure to appoint 250 judges to the superior courts—extraordinarily meritorious and diverse judges—and had the pleasure to appoint more judges than any justice minister in the past two decades…

So to close, I am incredibly proud of the work that I’ve been able to do. We’ve been very successful in advancing justice in this country and I look forward to bringing the hard work—the only kind of work I know how to do—and my strong commitment to serving the veterans of this country.”

On what personal qualities she brings to her new portfolio and her message to veterans, given that she has been a rare participant in the scrums that routinely occur near the stairs in the foyer of the House of Commons:

“You didn’t see me a lot at the bottom of the stairs because I was incredibly busy in my previous role. That leads me into my answer to your question: I am going to be incredibly busy in my role as the minister of veterans affairs…

I will bring the same work commitment, the same passion, the same desire to ensure that we care for our veterans, that we hear our veterans, that we have compassion for our veterans and that we, most importantly, respect our veterans. And I will continue to do as much outreach to hear from them how we can serve them in the most appropriate and best way we can, because that is what they deserve.”




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Post by Guest on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 6:35 pm

Wilson-Raybould should have gone to Indigenous Affairs. It makes perfect sense. It should always be someone Indigenous that represents the file. Otherwise, it smacks of colonialism.

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Post by Garrison on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 8:37 pm

Power Play: Strategy Session

A panel of strategists shares its take on the cabinet shuffle and what surprised them.

Jan 14, 2019







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Post by Slann19 on Tue 15 Jan 2019, 8:24 am

Is Veterans Affairs 'political purgatory'? Jody Wilson-Raybould is about to find out

A department that's seen seven ministers since 2010 could use some continuity, critics say

Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: Jan 15, 2019



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One of the first challenges for Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's new minister of Veterans Affairs, is going to be dispelling the (partly self-generated) notion that she has been cast into a kind of political purgatory.

In fairness, it's an impression created partly by the preoccupation of Ottawa's chattering classes with who's hot and who's not on Parliament Hill.

Wilson-Raybould's move from the justice and attorney general ministry — where she was drafting laws — to a service delivery and elusive customer satisfaction portfolio like Veterans Affairs — was widely seen as a demotion.

The perception was further reinforced by sources who told CBC News that Wilson-Raybould was offered the Indigenous Services portfolio and turned it down.

A letter she released on Monday to her Vancouver Granville constituents only pushed the eyebrows up even further among observers in the veterans' community.


Veterans deserve the best talent in cabinet, not people who've been demoted ...

- Veterans advocate Sean Bruyea


In her letter, Wilson-Raybould said she would not comment further about the shuffle and pointed out that "in our system, decisions regarding the appointment of Cabinet Ministers are the prerogative of the Prime Minister."

The 2,005-word letter went on to highlight and defend her record as justice minister.

Questioned by reporters after the changes to cabinet were made official at Rideau Hall, Wilson-Raybould denied she felt aggrieved in any way.

"I would say that I can think of no world in which I would consider working for our veterans in Canada as a demotion," she said.

"I will say again that I am proud to be the Veterans Affairs Minister. I had the opportunity to meet again the deputy minister whom I will be serving with and again I do not believe that anybody that serves in this role, that serves the veterans of our country should be considered in any negative light. This is an extremely important role."


An 'awesome responsibility'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set the tone moments before Wilson-Raybould's comments with a clear admonishment of those who might consider her new role to be beneath her.

"I would caution anyone who thinks that serving our veterans and making sure they get the care to which they are so justly entitled from any Canadian government is anything other than a deep and awesome responsibility," the prime minister said, praising Wilson-Raybould's "deft and steady hand" at the Department of Justice.

"Jody Wilson-Raybould has demonstrated through her ability to navigate through difficult files, whether it's on medical assistance in dying or reform of our criminal justice system, that she is extraordinarily capable of delivering on this file that is one of the core delivery mandates that the federal government has."


Assumptions about Wilson-Raybould's regrets over leaving her former high-profile job — and the strenuous efforts by her and the prime minister to insist that she's not being pushed to the back of the pecking order — registered clearly yesterday with politically plugged-in veterans and casually interested former soldiers, sailors and aircrew.

Phil Ralph, the national program director for Wounded Warriors Canada, said he wondered if the new minister is feeling anxious about stepping into the middle of the sometimes nasty, long-standing debate over the Liberals' promise to give wounded veterans the option of a pension-for-life.

Introduced by Seamus O'Regan, the outgoing minister, the new pension option is scheduled for implementation on April 1, 2019.

Now it's Wilson-Raybould's job to face the inevitable disappointment, anger and public backlash should the policy prove to be not as generous as previous iterations of the disability system.

"Imagine having to walk into the middle of that, just before an election when you don't have a good sense of the background," said Ralph.

Disagreement over the pension-for-life numbers, and an exchange of editorials, prompted one-long time veterans advocate, Sean Bruyea, to sue O'Regan for defamation.



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The case was dismissed, but it is being appealed and Bruyea himself said he has no intention of dropping the case even though the minister has been moved out.

He said he sees the Wilson-Raybould appointment as the government preparing to take a tougher, "more legalistic approach" to dealing with the veterans benefits issue after pouring up to $10 billion more into the system.

Given what he saw Monday, Bruyea questioned whether Wilson-Raybould wanted to be there and whether the department is treated as a political dumping ground.

"Why are veterans always subjected to ministers, for the most part ... that have basically been relegated to political purgatory?" he said. "Seriously."


A revolving door

What sort of marching orders the minister receives through her mandate letter from the prime minister will be critical to how Wilson-Raybould handles the file, Bruyea added. That letter has not yet been released.

"Veterans deserve the best talent in cabinet, not people who've been demoted, or who are the prime minister's best friend, who people whom they don't know what to with," he said.

The fact the department has been a revolving door for both Liberal and Conservative ministers only adds to the purgatory impression.

Ralph said that, by his count, there have been seven veterans ministers, including Wilson-Raybould, since 2010.

"Just punch in Google, minister of Veterans Affairs, Canada and the list comes up and you go, 'Really?'" he said.

"Our greatest concern is change and consistency."





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Post by RunningLight on Tue 15 Jan 2019, 9:24 am

CTV National News: Election-ready cabinet?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet. Joyce Napier on what the moves say about a government preparing for the next election.




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Post by Stealth99 on Thu 17 Jan 2019, 7:22 pm

Don Martin: Mini shuffle was a transparent hit job on one key cabinet minister

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Published Thursday, January 17, 2019

Rarely do you glimpse the mindset of a prime minister's inner circle when they punish a cabinet minister who is no longer to their liking.

But this week's mini shuffle was a transparent hit job on one key cabinet minister who appears to have forgotten her place as an obedient team player merely assigned to carry out orders from above.

The dark look on Jody Wilson-Raybould's face, her tense body language, that testy media availability and the unprecedented parting screed defending her legal legacy screamed fury at being demoted from top tier Justice to secondary Veterans Affairs on Monday.


The reasons at first seemed hard to fathom.

While Wilson-Raybould could be prickly in personality and demanding of her staff, most of the difficult-to-deliver demands in her mandate letter were checked off. Even if she had been slow to deliver results, she shares a front bench overflowing with modestly talented ministers who should've been replaced by brighter lights long before her.

But as whispers circulated, it became obvious this was indeed more personality clash than performance-failing.

Her unique sin appears to be venturing off the obligatory hail-Trudeau script when criticizing the pace of Indigenous reconciliation efforts – behavior she'd been cautioned against continuing by top PMO officials.

As Wilson-Raybould observed in her record-polishing rant, she fearlessly spoke truth to power and considers accelerating indigenous reconciliation her primary motivation for being in politics. For being less than fawning on the file, she paid the price.

This underlines the reality of cabinet ministers, a reality that is not unique to the Trudeau government. The "honorable" title doesn't mean they are free to freelance. The only measure of their performance is enacting orders and stuffing a sock in any personal disagreement.

The sheer transparency of this demotion underlines how egregious her off-script behavior was viewed from on high. They must've calculated sending the message of blind obedience to lower levels was worth the nasty optics of knocking down a woman who was the most senior Indigenous minister in Canadian history.

In the end, Jody Wilson-Raybould forgot the golden commandment of ministerial life: What the prime minister giveth in government cars, drivers, pay premiums and sycophantic support staff, he can taketh away without explanation or justification.

That's the last word.


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Post by RevForce on Thu 24 Jan 2019, 7:01 pm

Indigenous Bar Association slams Trudeau for moving Wilson-Raybould out of justice file


'We felt compelled to put out a message saying ... we're a little bit disappointed in the current government'

Tom Parry · CBC News · Posted: Jan 22, 2019



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A group that represents Indigenous lawyers and legal scholars is criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over his decision to move his justice minister into a new portfolio in last week's cabinet shuffle.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, the first Indigenous person to serve as Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada, was shifted out of that position and named Minister of Veteran Affairs.

The Indigenous Bar Association issued a statement on Monday calling Wilson-Raybould's reassignment "poorly orchestrated," saying it "calls into question" Trudeau's commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principles of reconciliation.

"With the federal election looming, relieving a strong Indigenous advocate from her duties as the justice minister is a monumental symbol of the Liberal government's lack of commitment to the meaningful recognition of Indigenous rights and interests," the statement said.

"We felt compelled to put out a message saying, look, we're a little bit disappointed in the current government's actions," said IBA president Scott Robertson.

"Obviously, the government is clear to do what it wants to do in terms of making those decisions. But from an optics perspective, we're just questioning the reasoning."


'A competent minister'

Robertson regards Wilson-Raybould as a competent minister who knew her file. And he dismisses reports and rumours that emerged in the wake of last week's shuffle that Wilson-Raybould could be difficult to work with.

"It always seems to be that people are difficult to work with," Robertson said. "And you know what makes them difficult? It's because people don't like the message they're saying. They don't like change."

On the day of the cabinet shuffle, Wilson-Raybould brushed aside any suggestion her move from Justice to Veterans Affairs was a step down.

"I can think of no world in which I would consider working for our veterans in Canada as a demotion," she said.


'Bizarre and incoherent'

At the same time, Wilson-Raybould issued a lengthy statement listing her accomplishments as justice minister. In that same statement, she urged the Liberal government not to waver in its efforts at reconciliation.

"While our government has taken some very important steps, and hard work is being done, the necessary shifts have not yet been fully achieved," she wrote.

Trudeau has rejected any suggestion Wilson-Raybould was demoted, calling the role of Veterans Affairs minister "a deep and awesome responsibility".


Trudeau has nonetheless faced criticism.

Cheryl Casimer, a member of the First Nations Summit task force in B.C., echoed the IBA, saying Trudeau's promise to reforge Canada's relationship with Indigenous Peoples was starting to ring hollow.

A group of Indigenous legal experts recently wrote an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail calling Wilson-Raybould's transfer "bizarre and incoherent."

And Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, called the move "disappointing and disturbing" in an interview with APTN, the Aboriginal People Television Network.





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Post by Riverdale on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 12:47 pm


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Post by Edgefore on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 1:04 pm

PMO pressured justice minister to help SNC-Lavalin avoid prosecution

The Canadian Press
Published: Feb 7, 2019



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OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail says former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould disappointed the Prime Minister's Office by refusing to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal prosecution.

The Quebec engineering and construction giant has been facing legal trouble over allegations it paid millions of dollars in bribes to get government business in Libya, which would be a crime under Canadian law.

As justice minister, Wilson-Raybould could have gotten involved in the case against the company by directing federal prosecutors to negotiate a "remediation agreement," a way of undoing damage without admitting the company itself was at fault for things particular employees did.

The Globe reports that SNC-Lavalin repeatedly lobbied Justin Trudeau's aides for a deal and Trudeau's office leaned on Wilson-Raybould to make it happen.

No such agreement was ever reached and Wilson-Raybould was moved to be minister of veterans affairs in a January cabinet shuffle.

Neither Trudeau nor Wilson-Raybould nor SNC-Lavalin has immediately responded to questions from The Canadian Press about the story.

The Canadian Press





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Post by Edgefore on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 1:07 pm

Edgefore wrote:
PMO pressured justice minister to help SNC-Lavalin avoid prosecution

The Canadian Press
Published: Feb 7, 2019



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OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail says former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould disappointed the Prime Minister's Office by refusing to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal prosecution.

The Quebec engineering and construction giant has been facing legal trouble over allegations it paid millions of dollars in bribes to get government business in Libya, which would be a crime under Canadian law.

As justice minister, Wilson-Raybould could have gotten involved in the case against the company by directing federal prosecutors to negotiate a "remediation agreement," a way of undoing damage without admitting the company itself was at fault for things particular employees did.

The Globe reports that SNC-Lavalin repeatedly lobbied Justin Trudeau's aides for a deal and Trudeau's office leaned on Wilson-Raybould to make it happen.

No such agreement was ever reached and Wilson-Raybould was moved to be minister of veterans affairs in a January cabinet shuffle.

Neither Trudeau nor Wilson-Raybould nor SNC-Lavalin has immediately responded to questions from The Canadian Press about the story.

The Canadian Press







Trudeau denies claim PMO pressured AG to drop SNC-Lavalin case

Feb 7, 2019

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trudeau-denies-claim-pmo-pressured-ag-to-drop-snc-lavalin-case-1.4286930
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Post by Masefield on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 7:00 pm

Liberals questioned over claim PMO pressed AG to drop SNC-Lavalin case, Trudeau denies




Published Thursday, February 7, 2019


OTTAWA – Questions over whether or not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or anyone in his office "directed" Canada's former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to abandon the prosecution of a case against SNC-Lavalin dominated question period on Thursday, following a denial from the prime minister.

The Globe and Mail has reported that the Prime Minister's Office tried to get Wilson-Raybould — who was also the federal attorney general at the time — to ask federal prosecutors to make a deal in the corruption and fraud case against Quebec-based engineering and construction company. CTV News has not independently verified the story.


On Thursday morning in Vaughan, Ont., Trudeau told reporters that: "The allegations in the Globe story this morning are false. Neither the current nor the previous attorney general was ever directed by me or anyone in my office to take a decision in this matter."

The charges the company is facing were the result of an RCMP probe into SNC-Lavalin allegedly paying millions in bribes to Libyan public officials.

Reacting to the prime minister’s comments and the report, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the allegations in the story are "incredibly shocking," and said Trudeau’s "carefully crafted" answers so far, fall short.

"If he continues to fail to be transparent with Canadians, Conservatives will make every effort and explore every option to make sure Justin Trudeau and his office are held accountable," Scheer said.

"We knew the Trudeau Liberals were willing to do shady things to help their ultra-rich friends – but this is something else. Mr. Trudeau needs to explain who authorized attempts to pressure the former attorney general to let SNC-Lavalin off the hook," tweeted NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

The Tory leader, members of his caucus, and NDP MPs all pressed the government about this report during question period.

Taking the questions in Trudeau’s absence was Canada's current Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Quebec MP David Lametti. He was appointed to cabinet in January in a shuffle that saw Wilson-Raybould moved into the Veterans' Affairs portfolio, which was viewed by some as a demotion.

Repeatedly, Lametti called the report "false" and denied that he has at any time been "directed or pressured" by Trudeau or his office.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen called the government’s repeated response a "carefully crafted denial that isn't a denial at all."

The Attorney General of Canada has the ability to become involved in cases such as the SNC-Lavalin case by instructing federal prosecutors to pursue a "remediation agreement" rather than a criminal prosecution. These agreements can include having the company accept responsibility, denounce the wrongdoing, vow to implement corrective measures, and pay financial penalties.

The governing Liberals amended the Criminal Code as part of an omnibus budget implementation bill in 2018 to allow these kinds of agreements. Ahead of the legislative change, The Canadian Press reported that the government considered it a tool to hold companies accountable. In its reporting, it was noted that this law change could help SNC-Lavalin.

The Globe and Mail has reported—citing sources speaking on condition of anonymity— that Wilson-Raybould was leaned on to have federal prosecutors pursue the remediation agreement but she was unwilling. The report also noted a number of registered meetings in which SNC-Lavalin lobbied high-level members of Trudeau's office and parliamentarians on the topics of "justice" and "law enforcement."

In a lengthy post about leaving the justice department that Wilson-Raybould made the day of the shuffle, she stated "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."

CTV News has asked Jody Wilson-Raybould for comment on the story and her office said she will not be commenting today.





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Post by Masefield on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 7:12 pm

PM's response on SNC-Lavalin report not transparent: Scheer

Feb 7, 2019





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Post by JAFO on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 10:45 pm

I'm confused here.... are we supposed to be upset about Trudeau possibly knifing Wilson-Rabould in the back OR that for punishment she was demoted to the Veteran Affairs portfolio?



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Post by Gridlock on Fri 08 Feb 2019, 10:37 am

The Prime Minister's Office is being accused of interfering in the criminal case against SNC-Lavalin. Glen McGregor reports.



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