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'We all stand with her': Yukon AFN chief on Wilson-Raybould

'The leadership that she has shown as a woman, as an Indigenous woman, as a former attorney general — you know, there probably aren't words to describe how truly remarkable she is,' says Kluane Adamek.

'There probably aren't words to describe how truly remarkable she is, continues to be,' says Kluane Adamek

Kluane Adamek, Yukon regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations, calls former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould a 'phenomenal leader' who is inspiring Indigenous people across the country. (Submitted by Kluane Adamek)

The Yukon regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations says former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould's resistance to intense political pressure speaks volumes about her character.

Kluane Adamek calls Wilson-Raybould a "phenomenal leader" who is inspiring Indigenous people across the country. 

"The leadership that she has shown as a woman, as an Indigenous woman, as a former attorney general — you know, there probably aren't words to describe how truly remarkable she is, continues to be, and the work that she's done," Adamek said.

"We all stand with her and continue to support her." 

Adamek believes Wilson-Raybould is forcing change at the highest levels of power.

"What Jody showed — and what I believe, and what I've heard other leaders speak out about — is that we need a fundamental change, and this includes a deep structural change right across government and law."

She also says Wilson-Raybould's integrity and leadership are examples of what Indigenous people can share with the country. And she agrees with Wilson-Raybould's comments to the justice committee this week, that Canada hasn't always upheld the rule of law relating to Indigenous people.

Jody Wilson-Raybould appears at the House of Commons Justice Committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Meanwhile, the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, Peter Johnston, has not weighed in on Wilson-Raybould and the SNC-Lavalin affair. Johnston has not responded to requests for comment.

'A class act, all the way through'

The former attorney general is also getting full marks for her professional approach, from the president of the Canadian Bar Association. Ray Adlington was in Whitehorse this week for an awards ceremony by the Yukon Bar Association.

Adlington said he admires how Wilson-Raybould conducts herself, in particular her adherence to professional standards of client-solicitor privilege.

Politicians aren't subject to the same ethical guidelines as are lawyers.- Ray Adlington, president of Canadian Bar Association 

"What particularly impressed me was her sticking to the decision that she made in the first instance, and not bowing to any pressure that was placed upon her to change her decision," Adlington said.

"Also what impressed me was her ability to accept the change in cabinet position without disclosing any privileged information about what had gone on. Definitely a class act, all the way through."

Adlington says the independence of the attorney general's office is one of the cornerstones of the Canadian justice system.

Ray Adlington, president of the Canadian Bar Association, says Wilson-Raybould is a role model for all lawyers. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

He adds that Wilson-Raybould demonstrated ethics and honour in not being swayed by "circumstances such as the national economic interest," in deciding not to interfere in decisions made by the director of public prosecutions.

He says Wilson-Raybould is a role model for all lawyers.

Adlington also says lawyers, by dint of their professional oath, are subject to higher professional and ethical standards than politicians.

"Politicians aren't subject to the same ethical guidelines as are lawyers in conducting their duties, and as the attorney general is, in conducting his or her duties from time to time. So the standards are different." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raised in Ross River, Yukon, Nancy Thomson is a graduate of Ryerson University's journalism program. Her first job with CBC Yukon was in 1980, when she spun vinyl on Saturday afternoons. She rejoined CBC Yukon in 1993, and focuses on First Nations issues and politics. You can reach her at nancy.thomson@cbc.ca.

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