The prominent father of an Indigenous cabinet minister who resigned Tuesday unloaded on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an interview on CBC News.
"This make-believe cosmetic baloney that Trudeau's engaged in has proven itself now to be a farce," Bill Wilson told CBC host Vassy Kapelos.
"When Jody was kicked in the teeth by the prime minister and shuffled down to veterans affairs ... that was a clear slap in the face for all Indians in the country."
Wilson's daughter, Jody Wilson-Raybould, was moved from her position as justice minister to lead veterans affairs in a surprise cabinet shuffle on Jan. 14. Many pundits called it a demotion, though the prime minister denied it at the time.
Wilson-Raybould announced Tuesday she was resigning from cabinet, after sources alleged in The Globe and Mail that Trudeau's office pressured the then-justice minister to help a Quebec company avoid criminal prosecution. SNC-Lavalin is facing charges of bribery and fraud.
She's a very serious, strong minded person who follows her convictions.Sheila North
Sheila North, the former grand chief of the northern Manitoba chiefs' organization Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, said the government has lost a valued, well-regarded member of the Indigenous community.
She's known Wilson-Raybould for seven years, since the MP served as regional chief for the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.
"She's a very serious, strong minded person who follows her convictions," North told HuffPost Canada in an email. Wilson-Raybould has a lot of clout and knowledge about First Nations communities, North said.
"That's what the government has lost."
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Wilson-Raybould's father told Kapelos that this government is not making progress on reconciliation.
"This Trudeau government, just like the last Trudeau government, hasn't done anything but dig deeper holes for the poverty and deprivation of Aboriginal people across the country."
In the 1980s, he went head-to-head with Trudeau's father, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He successfully negotiated to include Indigenous treaty rights and title rights over land in Canada's constitution.
"Things have gotten worse in the 62 years that I've been involved in the upfront Indian politics, and it certainly wasn't my fault. It was successive governments: Conservative and Liberal and even NDP in this province," he said from Vancouver.
"I have no faith whatsoever, not that I ever did, in the white man's government."
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