Editorial: Important voice lost

Regardless of the outcome of the federal government’s latest and most serious scandal, B.C. has lost a strong and accomplished voice at the cabinet table.

When Jody Wilson-Raybould was pushed out of the justice portfolio and dropped into what almost everyone saw as a lesser post in Veterans Affairs, she put a loyal spin on it and said she was happy to serve. And at least she was still in cabinet.

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Then the SNC-Lavalin scandal erupted, with claims that the Prime Minister’s Office had pressured her as justice minister to go easy on the huge Quebec construction company. Wilson-Raybould again did the loyal thing and said nothing.

On Tuesday, with the storm building, she quit cabinet.

That’s a loss for Canadians and British Columbians. Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister brought not only valuable legal experience, but a fresh perspective as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau famously built a cabinet that celebrated diverse views.

When Wilson-Raybould left cabinet, she took with her much of the Liberal government’s credibility with Indigenous Peoples, which had already been badly eroded.

The government says her departure won’t undermine its dedication to reconciliation and gender equity. However, government representatives’ attempts to denigrate her after her resignation suggest otherwise.

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