The questions swirling around former Liberal Justice Minsiter Jody Wilson-Raybould are also floating in the North.
The story that broke a week ago, leading to Wilson-Raybould’s resignation this week was raised on the final day of the Dene Nation Leadership meeting, during a presentation from the NWT member of parliament Michael McLeod.
The first leader to raise a question with Mcleod after his pre-election housing and Indigenous languages pitch to the chiefs, was Dehcho Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian.
“Her name (Jody Wilson-Raybould) is all over the media, It’s not lining up. What is the party’s version, what is your version, or what is the truth?” asked Norwegian.
McLeod took three minutes, to thoughtfully answer the Grand Chief of his home region.
“It’s a huge issue that’s getting a lot of media attention. I had brief discussion with her last week. We were trying to talk in a public forum, and she kept being interrupted. We were supposed to have coffee last Thursday, but she couldn’t make it, so I didn’t get the juicy back story, information. I’m extremely disappointed that Jody is no longer a minister. Jody Wilson-Raybould has dedicated her entire professional career to work on Indigenous issues, and is one of the most educated people on our issues in the country. I confided in her quite a bit. What is concerning to me is that now there is no Northern or Indigenous voice in cabinet. I will raise this in the Indigenous caucus and in the Northern caucus that I chair,” McLeod told Norwegian and the Dene leaders gathered in Yellowknife Thursday morning.
Dehcho Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian asks @MMcLeodNWT "what's happening with former Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould." McLeod says he had a close working relationship with her, and that he is concerned there is no Northern or Indigenous voice in @JustinTrudeau cabinet. #CKLB pic.twitter.com/A3yQqHkswq
— Josh Campbell (@Splash_Campbell) February 14, 2019
Salt River First Nations Chief Frieda Martselos raised the issue of clean drinking water on reserves, and aired her frustration with a lack of action on water concerns on her reserve.
“If the minister isn’t listening to you, who the hell will they listen to? I can bring a group of people, but then I get on deputy minister that says ‘yes,’ and the next say no. How do you feel about that?” Martselos asked McLeod.
McLeod empathized with Martselos saying,
“I think you know how I feel Frieda, we’ve spoken a lot on this. There was an agreement signed in 2002. We heard nothing during the Conservatives, it’s a huge challenge. I raised this again with the new minsiter Seamus O’Regan. He needs sometime to get his footing, but we will talk again about it, and the Prime Minsiter knows too. I think the territorial formula funding might trip it up to.”
Jody Wilson-Raybould’s father Bill Wilson told Global News Tuesday that he expects his daughter will be making statements on the SNC-Lavalin case in the coming days now that she’s resigned from cabinet, and called it “disgusting” the way she’s been treated.
Gwich’in elder Charlie Snowshoe also asked McLeod, “why is there an Indian Affairs office here if they can’t help us?”
He went on to tell McLeod, “we elders are having all our money sucked out of us. We have to pay for everything, water power. I told my wife let’s get the heck out of here and move into low-cost housing, she said no.”
McLeod, thanked Snowshoe for his comments, and said they were all good points. He urged Snowshoe to speak with the MLAs also in attendance to address issues that are covered by the Territorial and Provincial governments.