Politics

Jody Wilson-Raybould to release 'timely' and 'must-read' book during election campaign

Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould will release a book in the middle of the fall election campaign. Her publisher is promising a "timely" and "impassioned" piece of work, while another reviewer is calling the text a "must-read for all Canadians."

Former justice minister to write about Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples

Jody Wilson-Raybould arrives at a news conference to discuss her political future in Vancouver. A book by the former justice minister and attorney general will be released on Sept. 20, according to her publisher. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould will release a book in the middle of the fall election campaign. Her publisher is promising a "timely" and "impassioned" piece of work, while another reviewer is calling the text a "must-read for all Canadians."

Wilson-Raybould was removed from the Liberal caucus in early April after the months-long SNC-Lavalin affair gripped the nation's capital with accusations of judicial interference by the Prime Minister's Office. She will release the book on September 20, her publisher said. The election is set for October 21, 2019.

While some would-be readers might be looking for an SNC-Lavalin tell-all, given the intense public interest in the scandal that prompted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's resignation, much of the text will instead be devoted to Canada's fraught relationship with Indigenous peoples.

A spokesperson for Purich Books — an imprint of UBC Press, which is publishing the book — told CBC News that the SNC-Lavalin affair will "absolutely not" be the principal focus of the book. Instead, the publisher said Wilson-Raybould will be offering her ideas on how to best "move forward" on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Purich Books said Wilson-Raybould's time as both an Indigenous leader — she served as the B.C. regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations — and a representative of the Crown through her cabinet position gives her a "a unique and important perspective on leadership and into the challenges faced, and successes earned, by Indigenous peoples."

"In this powerful book, Jody Wilson-Raybould draws on her speeches and other writings to argue that true reconciliation will occur only when Canada moves beyond denial, recognizes Indigenous rights and replaces the Indian Act. The good news is that there are solutions. Now it is time to act, to end the legacy of colonialism and replace it with a future built on foundations of trust, cooperation and Indigenous self-government," the publisher said a press release sent to the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a former Saskatchewan provincial court judge who testified at the House of Commons committee studying the SNC-Lavalin affair, said Wilson-Raybould's book is a "must-read" for Canadians.

"Having witnessed her remarkable courage and capacity as Canada's attorney general and her determination to do what is right without succumbing to unrelenting political pressure, Puglaas stands tall among Canadians as a person for whom truth, thoughtfulness and principle are not mere words — but values to sustain a different kind of policy and politics," Turpel-Lafond said in the press release announcing the book. ('Puglaas' is Wilson-Raybould's name in the Kwakʼwala language.)

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond on Oct. 24, 2016, her final day as B.C.'s representative for children and youth. (CBC)

Turpel-Lafond has said the Trudeau government's actions on the SNC-Lavalin affair — the allegation that senior members of the government inappropriately pressured Wilson-Raybould to cut a legal deal with the Quebec-based engineering firm to avoid criminal prosecution — were "disturbing."

Trudeau has denied any wrongdoing and has said the actions of his office were a well-meaning, and perfectly legal, attempt to protect jobs.

The book will land just as Wilson-Raybould is asking voters in her Vancouver-Granville riding to send her back to Ottawa — this time as an Independent MP.

Wilson-Raybould and former Indigenous Services minister Jane Philpott — a close cabinet colleague who resigned her post, saying she had lost confidence in Trudeau — both announced in May they would run for re-election in the fall to see that politics really is "done differently" in Ottawa. Both have said there is simply too much power concentrated in the Prime Minister's Office.

"With your support, I am confident that running as an Independent is the best way to go about it at this time, and the best way to transform our political culture," Wilson-Raybould said at her campaign launch.

A spokesperson for the Liberal Party said it isn't focused on the pending publication of a book.

"Our own focus is on the clear choice that Canadians will face in this campaign, between the Conservative Party's plan for cuts to services that families rely on, and the Liberal team's positive plan to continue investing in the middle class," Braeden Caley, the senior director of communications, said in an email to CBC News.

Philpott sent a tweet Wednesday praising Wilson-Raybould for releasing such an "important book."

"I've learned so much about Canadian history, justice, truth & reconciliation from Puglaas, who in turn learned from wise elders & others. Very happy that she is sharing these teachings for all Canadians to read," Philpott said.

Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould speaks about her decision to run again independently in the upcoming election. 17:20

About the Author

John Paul Tasker

Parliamentary Bureau

John Paul (J.P.) Tasker is a reporter in the CBC's Parliamentary bureau in Ottawa. He can be reached at john.tasker@cbc.ca.

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