Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, is calling out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the removal of the former Attorney General and Justice Minister along with the former Treasury Board President.
“We are absolutely disgusted that Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have been kicked out of the Liberal caucus and dropped as candidates because they chose to act honourably and with integrity regarding the SNC-Lavalin scandal rather than kowtow to Liberal political pressure. Apparently, this equates to being ‘untrustworthy’ in the shifty eyes of Justin Trudeau, who is clearly committed to propping up cronyism and the old boys’ network,” said Phillip in a news release.
Both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott were kicked out of the Liberal caucus on Tuesday as the fallout continues in the SNC-Lavalin affair. Wilson-Raybould said there was attempted political interference by the Prime Minister’s Office in the criminal prosecution of the engineering firm.
Phillip, a former Penticton Indian Band chief, is among the growing number of supporters voicing their disappointment. According to the Canadian Press, supporters in Vancouver Granville have stood by their Wilson-Raybould, their MP, and on Wednesday the vice-president of the Chilliwack-Hope Liberal riding association quit.
Phillip said Trudeau and his party are ready to sweep serious corruption and fraud charges under the rug.
“This type of shoddy, slimy back room politics, is the exact opposite to the ‘new kind of government’ that Trudeau and his sunny ways promised. How can the Liberals be considered a united team if members of their office have inappropriately sought to interfere with and undermine Jody Wilson-Raybould’s actions regarding the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin?”
Connie Denesiuk, the 2019 federal candidate for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay Riding, said the decision has not swayed her allegiance to the party.
“My sincere hope would have been that people would come together around a shared common vision and learn from one another and that the party would be stronger for that. At the end of the day, that didn’t happen. I wish that things were different and I certainly understand the decision because team is really important. I just think trust was lost on all sides,” she said.
Denesiuk said she spent many years as a progressive conservative and it was the Liberal values that drew her to the party, the same ones that keep her in the party.
“I think there are lessons to be learned from the whole controversy, important lessons to be learned. I know that opposition parties are jumping at the opportunity to further divide but I really see us moving forward and using this as an opportunity to unite around doing things better,” said Denesiuk.