Jody Wilson-Raybould (right) and sister Kory flank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
First Indigenous female to serve as justice minister moved to Veterans Affairs
In what appears to be a demotion of sorts, one of two Vancouver cabinet ministers in the federal government was moved out of the Justice Department to serve as minister of Veterans Affairs.
Vancouver Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, who served as justice minister as well as attorney general, was moved in the shuffle created by Treasury Board president Scott Brison’s resignation.
It's believed that this will be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's last reorganizing of cabinet, and that it’s the team he intends to take into what promises to be a contentious 2019 election.
Taking to reporters today at a press conference in Ottawa, Trudeau insisted that Wilson-Raybould’s move wasn’t a demotion: “I would caution anyone who thinks that serving our veterans and making sure they get the care to which they are so justly entitled from any Canadian government is anything other than a deep and awesome responsibility.”
At the same conference, Wilson-Raybould claimed not to be dismayed by the move. “I am incredibly proud of the work that I did, supported by an amazing minister’s staff and by dedicated and hard-working public servants,” the now–former justice minister said. “We accomplished essentially my mandate letter plus.”
Among those accomplishments, Wilson-Raybould listed appointing more judges than any justice minister in the past two decades—250 to superior courts.
However, in a release, she declined to comment on why she’s no longer justice minister.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, the Opposition’s finance critic, also spoke to reporters, deriding the job that outgoing veteran affairs minister Seamus O’Regan did in the role. O’Regan was appointed minister of indigenous services in the shuffle, prompting many to wonder why Wilson-Raybould wasn’t shifted to that responsibility.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, in particular, took the opportunity to critique the prime minister for Wilson-Raybould’s move, tweeting, “is this a sign Trudeau is demoting indigenous issues?”
Montreal MP David Lametti takes over as justice minister and attorney general.