The testimony of Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former attorney general of Canada, was disturbing, but so was the response from the prime minister.
It wasn’t Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s response about it being one person’s perspective — that was predictable — but his non-answer when asked if Wilson-Raybould would be allowed to remain in the Liberal caucus and whether she would be allowed to run this fall in the next federal election.
The answer should have been, ‘Yes. I may disagree with her statements, but no one can fault her dedication to her principles, and we need more of that in government.”
He’s no doubt dealing with a lot of personal anger at the moment, but the way forward is clear.
That is if the Liberal Party wants to retain any appearance of honour.
Wilson-Raybould’s testimony about the pressure put on her to find a way to get SNC-Lavalin a deal was a rare glimpse into how the game of politics is played. But people shouldn’t assume this was the only time such an incident occurred, or that it is something limited to Trudeau’s Liberal government.
It’s likely that almost every government, Conservative or Liberal, has done something like this behind closed doors, at one time or another, during their time in power.
And with 9,000 Canadian jobs at stake, it’s pretty understandable that any party in power would press for a favourable resolution that would allow those jobs to continue, especially when there is a commonly-used option like deferred prosecution on the table.
The only thing making this incident different was Wilson-Raybould’s refusal to back away from what she saw as the right thing to do.
Rather than cave to the pressures of her leader, she stood for justice. She knew there would be consequences for her actions, but she refused to let party devotion interfere with the job she was assigned.
For that, she deserves everyone’s respect.