If a cabinet minister gets hammered in question period by both opposition parties, odds are that minister did something wrong. That’s the position Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould finds herself in over questionable fundraising practices.
The Justice Minister is the country’s top lawyer in charge of lower court appointments, handing out contracts when government needs outside legal work and charged with shepherding changes to the criminal code.
This is one minister you especially want to ensure keeps a squeaky clean image so it’s very odd that Wilson-Raybould put herself in this position, the Prime Minister defended it and the Liberal Party didn’t stop it.
Last week she and her top policy person walked into the Toronto offices of Torys law firm for a $500 per person cocktail fundraiser. She says she wasn’t there as Minister - just as a lowly MP from Vancouver - but no one’s buying that.
The NDP and Conservatives hammered away in question period Monday while Liberals insisted she did nothing wrong raising money from people she’ll soon be awarding contracts to or appointing to the bench.
But she went even further at one point by invoking gender and race when Conservative MP Jacques Gourde asked her to simply admit she was at the fundraiser as Justice Minister. Instead of doing so, she gave a response beneath the dignity of her office.
Caught in a lie, now she’s shutting down questions about bad decisions by invoking gender and race, suggesting the opposition are somehow bigoted.
Shame on you Minister for attempting to deflect from wrongdoing. You have power over lawyers in Canada with more than three dozen judicial appointments to make and law firms to select for lucrative contracts on the murdered and missing aboriginal women’s file.
Raising money from lawyers at events like this puts you in a conflict of interest. As a smart woman, you know this so don’t insult the intelligence of Canadians by denying it.