Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould is shown with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw hereditary chiefs in a photo posted to Twitter on Sunday.

Jody Wilson-Raybould honoured at ceremony in Campbell River amid controversy

Show of support comes as SNC-Lavalin controversy deepens

Embattled former minister of justice and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould attended a ceremony and feast held in her honour in Campbell River over the weekend as the SNC-Lavalin scandal deepened in Ottawa.

We Wai Kai elders came up with idea to honour Wilson-Raybould, said Robert Duncan, chief administrative officer for the First Nation. The Liberal MP for Vancouver-Granville is a We Wai Kai member, and she’s been at the centre of a political crisis that has embroiled the federal government for weeks.

In an email, Duncan said the “intent of the feast and ceremony was to show the world that we love this woman of integrity (Puglaas) and wanted to give her a great big hug and demonstrate our support for her.”

Puglaas, Wilson-Raybould’s Kwak’wala name, translates to “woman born of noble people” or “woman with integrity.”

READ MORE: New Democrat and Tory politicians from North Island weigh in on SNC-Lavalin affair

The ceremony, which took place on Saturday afternoon at Kwanwatsi Big House or House of Thunder on the Wei Wai Kum reserve in central Campbell River, was attended by about 500 people.

Led by Wilson-Raybould’s grandmother’s Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw nation, the four-hour ceremony involved a traditional brushing with spruce boughs and was meant to give her strength, Duncan said.

Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw traditional territories are located in a coastal area northeast of Vancouver Island, according to a map on the website of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Tribal Council.

Duncan said that many other nations from B.C. attended and were given a chance to show their respect and appreciation for Wilson-Raybould, many bringing gifts and songs. This was followed by a traditional feast at nearby Thunderbird Hall.

On Twitter, Wilson-Raybould posted a message of thanks with a photo of herself with several Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw hereditary chiefs.

“Continue to feel empowered & grateful our Indigenous laws, culture & Nations remain so strong,” she said in the tweet.

READ MORE: Labour minister says it was ‘unethical’ for Wilson-Raybould to record call

Wilson-Raybould served as minister of justice and attorney general under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau but was reassigned as minister of veterans affairs in January.

She quit that position the following month amid reports that she came under pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office to stop a criminal prosecution of the multinational engineering firm of SNC-Lavalin in favour of a deferred prosecution agreement.

She later testified that she believes she was moved to Veterans Affairs as punishment for refusing to succumb to the pressure.

Saturday’s event in Campbell River follows the release of a 17-minute audio clip of a phone conversation with Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick recorded in secret by Wilson-Raybould in December.

READ MORE: Gerald Butts provides notes, texts to justice committee on SNC-Lavalin

In the call, Wernick repeatedly asks Wilson-Raybould why she was not using all the tools at her disposal on the SNC-Lavalin case. She pushes back, saying she would not override the decision of the director of public prosecutions to pursue a criminal prosecution against SNC-Lavalin for bribery and fraud related to its activities in Libya.

Wernick told her that Trudeau was “quite determined” on the matter and would likely “find a way to get it done one way or another.”

The audio was released on Friday by the House of Commons justice committee, along with a 43-page brief from Wilson-Raybould that includes emails and text messages.

In her written submission, Wilson-Raybould acknowledged recording the conversation was an “extraordinary and otherwise inappropriate step” but said she felt it necessary to have an exact record of what was discussed.

The audio has fueled criticism of the Liberal government for allegedly interfering in the SNC-Lavalin case. But it has also contributed to blowback against Wilson-Raybould, with Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu saying it was “unethical” for her to secretly record the phone call.

Wilson-Raybould is facing removal from the Liberal caucus, but has indicated that she plans to run as a Liberal in the upcoming federal election.

With files from the Canadian Press

Just Posted

Area director concerned about status of barge ahead of expected windy conditions

Uncertainty of Nana Provider’s hull condition adding to unease

Campbell River’s Canyon View Trail loop planned for opening in mid-December

Campbell River trail users were hopeful the Canyon View Trail loop may… Continue reading

Campbell River youth soccer nets vandalized, stolen

Last weekend, Nov. 9-10, some of the Campbell River Youth Soccer Association’s… Continue reading

Reminder: John Hart Dam road closed until Nov. 20

BC Hydro is providing public notice that the road across the John… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

More rain may mean more leachate at Comox-Strathcona landfill

Staff considering ways to mitigate situation of excess leachate at site

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

Most Read