OTTAWA — David Chartrand, head of the Manitoba Metis Federation, is deriding Jody Wilson-Raybould's role in the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. scandal, saying she may set back reconciliation with Indigenous people — not the prime minister.
“As Indigenous people, if I were to say (that) because Jody Wilson-Raybould’s feelings have been hurt, that we now have to change our position on a leader that's meant so much to us? That's not how we operate; we're loyal people, and we'll stand with the people who stand with us," Chartrand said in a Friday interview.
He said what the former justice minister alleged — that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried politically interfering in a corruption case — was not grounds for stepping down from federal cabinet.
“If Wilson-Raybould had our agenda as a priority, she wouldn't have resigned; she would have kept fighting for us in there. But because she said that her personal views and principles are more important than anything else — well, I'm sorry; it's not more important than reconciliation and changing lives for my people,” he said.
“Trudeau had the choice of 184 MPs, and he selected her to be the one that will help his party, this country, move ahead.”
He also said Métis leaders were “angry” about Wilson-Raybould’s brief term as veterans affairs minister.
The Liberals had planned to announce in January a settlement for Métis veterans, Chartrand said, which they postponed when Trudeau replaced the previous veterans minister with Wilson-Raybould.
He claimed Métis leaders tried in vain to schedule a meeting with her during her month in the role, before she resigned from cabinet.
Chartrand also said Wilson-Raybould was not trying to work within consensus, despite this being how Indigenous people often govern.
“Everyone’s probably afraid to talk about it, because they don't want to insult Indigenous people. But I'm Indigenous myself; I'm not afraid to speak on it. Let's call a spade a spade."
— Dylan Robertson