Jody Wilson-Raybould, the patron saint of self-promotion.
I am sick and tired of Jody Wilson-Raybould. I am tired of her constant deification at the hands of the opposition and some in media. I believe it is time for the Liberal Party of Canada to cut ties with both Wilson-Raybould, and Jane Philpott. Both have played the Canadian public, and media, for fools.
Jody Wilson-Raybould was a poor to mediocre Attorney General/Minister of Justice who has perfectly used the SNC-Lavalin story to become a cause célèbre for Conservatives and members of the media intent on tearing down Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government.
It is true that some of the damage to Justin Trudeau has been self inflicted: an inability to present a consistent and coherent narrative and reasoning for the cabinet shuffle. The PMO failed to get in front of the story, or understand how big the story was about to become. Justin Trudeau should have had Jody Wilson-Raybould removed from caucus immediately, but was instead able to cause significant damage from inside the party and caucus. That is unacceptable.
Justin Trudeau nor the PMO had any idea that a long game was being played, that this entire sequence of events had been prepared and coordinated long before Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the Justice portfolio. Everything, from the initial story leak to the Globe, to the resignation, to the testimony and beyond has been meticulously planned to devastate Justin Trudeau and to promote herself. No one saw that coming initially.
With the leaked tape there is no doubt of who Jody Wilson-Raybould is, and what the plan was all along.
Strap in, I have a few points to make, and few important questions to ask.
- If Jody Wilson-Raybould was surreptitiously recording phone calls with PMO/PCO, what was stopping her from recording other phone conversations of a sensitive and private nature in her role as AG/MoJ. How can trust ever be reestablished after this, especially in caucus?
- Jody Wilson-Raybould was the chief law officer of the Crown, the government’s lawyer and if the Secretary of the Cabinet is seeking advice or having a conversation with Jody Wilson-Raybould in her role as Attorney General, it should be like a lawyer helping a client with an expectation of confidentiality, those conversations are between them. Michael Wernick should have had the expectation of privilege in any conversation while they both occupied those roles.
- Jody Wilson-Raybould was called to the Bar of Ontario on June 16, 2016, and is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.
- Law Society of Ontario Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2-3: A lawyer shall not use any device to record a conversation between the lawyer and a client or another legal practitioner, even if lawful, without first informing the other person of the intention to do so.
- Jody Wilson-Raybould did not provide the tape to the Ethics Commissioner investigating the SNC-Lavalin affair, to the RCMP, or to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights during her initial testimony nor disclosed the tape. Why is that? She knew she possessed the tape. The truth is, Jody Wilson-Raybould knew that recording the conversation would considered to be unethical and inappropriate, and in fact acknowledged the inappropriateness of the surreptitious recording and withheld the tape for months because of the possible damage to her reputation.
- Jody Wilson-Raybould knew that she was speaking into a recording device, and Michael Wernick didn’t. It allowed her to direct the call in any narrative direction required, and to make the dramatic allusions to the “Saturday night massacre”. It also allowed the call to be scripted and to hit any point that she needed to retain a perceived ethical purity.
- Jody Wilson-Raybould continually virtue signals regarding ethics throughout the conversation, because she knows the call is being recorded. There are continual attempts to set up and possibly entrap Michael Wernick. It is an obvious performance.
- This entire call is a vocal performance of a self-serving letter. A self-serving letter is a statement by a lawyer or witness that serves no purpose and provides no evidence, but only argues or reinforces the legal or ethical position of that party. All Jody Wilson-Raybould did was provide 17 minutes of this. It was performance art.
- Despite not knowing he was being recorded, Michael Wernick’s recollection of the conservation remains consistent with his testimony before the Justice Committee, as was his conduct during the call.
- Many in Canadian journalism will completely gloss over the moral and ethical implications of this inappropriately recorded phone call in the name of reinforcing their preexisting bias against the Trudeau government.
- I hope that Jody Wilson-Raybould is held to account by the Law Society of Ontario regarding the recording a privileged conversation. As a practicing lawyer, Wilson-Raybould should have known better, and I hope complaints by members of the law society will be forthcoming.
- Jody Wilson-Raybould has willingly undermined trust between cabinet and the civil service. How is anyone going to be able to provide advice on sensitive issues if they feel they are being recorded for the purpose of future release.
I cannot help but think of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s powerful closing statement to the Standing Committee for Justice and Human Rights, “I come from a long line of matriarchs and I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of our Big House. This is who I am and this is who I will always be. Gila’kasla.” This is why the news of this surreptitious recorded call is so upsetting. The non-disclosure of the recorded conversation until now is a lie by omission. To me, the recorded call itself it is an ethical and moral breach that devalues the narrative sold to Canadians by media, and by Wilson-Raybould herself.
For the record, the Clerk and the PCO are clients of the AG. They are part of the Government of Canada who the AG advises – as per the Department of Justice Act.