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 on Vancouver Island 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 on Vancouver Island on Saturday as the SNC-Lavalin scandal deepened in Ottawa.

Elders came up with idea to recognize Wilson-Raybould at the ceremony in Campbell River, said Robert Duncan, chief administrative officer for We Wai Kai Nation, which is based in Campbell River and neighbouring Quadra Island.

The Liberal MP for Vancouver-Granville is a We Wai Kai member, and she’s 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. Wei Wai Kum First Nation is also known as the Campbell River Indian Band.

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

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Driver of stolen vehicle caught after fleeing accident scene in Chemainus

Section of Chemainus Road closed until suspect located and eventually taken into custody

Crofton Alternate Water Supply Project eliminates boil water advisories

System takes away the need to utilize Crofton Lake in the event of a disruption to mill source

Chemainus sea walk plans get a boost

North Cowichan to sign right-of-way agreements with VIHA

Local beekeeper wants residents to use pesticides more responsibly

Paula Masyk has kept bees for a little over two months, and has had two pesticide events since then

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Licence issue delays boozing while cruising on BC Ferries

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

Nanaimo a prime market for new plane, Air Canada says

Vice-president previews Airbus A220, praises Nanaimo’s growth in passenger numbers

B.C. school mourns after 13-year-old killed by fallen tree on field trip

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

RCMP deploys special unit in Comox Valley to combat organized crime

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit spends four days targeting organized crime in Courtenay

B.C. temporarily halts resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

Students disciplined after anti-LGBTQ signs posted in Kamloops high school

Vessy Mochikas, SD73’s principal for inclusive education, called incident a learning opportunity

Most Read