Listen: Jody Wilson-Raybould: The woman in the eye of the storm
"Wilson abled you've heard her name in the news for going on a month. Now, she's the woman at the center of the biggest political scandal to hit Canada, and a very long time the Trudeau government fighting itself in crisis mode over this SNC lavaman scandal. Bombshell testimony on Wednesday from Canada's former attorney general Jodie Wilson rebelled hers. The name prime minister Justin Trudeau will never ever forget the right. Honorable Jodie Wilson rebel testified. The would not bend to what she considered inappropriate pressure on the part of his office to interfere in the essence Alaba in case and the she was alternately penalized for it. The prime minister asked me to help out to find a solution here for us NC in response. I explained to him the law, but Jodie Wilson. Ray bold is also a person an indigenous lawyer with a whole life and distinguished career prior to these headlines liberal MP for Vancouver. Granville, feels it all that pressure back when she was still the first indigenous woman to become attorney general a star member of Trudeau's. Gender-balanced cabinet before being shuffled to better affairs as a result. She believes a standing her ground defending the rule of law Canadians of mostly lauded Wilson rebelled for quote, speaking her truth to power that doesn't mean she hasn't been subject to racism and sexism allegedly from even within her own party. Why versus all coming from? And what does this kind of treatment say about the liberal party or more broadly, Canadian politics? I'm Sarah, VO spelled infrastructure and heath Rawlings as we Mark International Women's Day this week. This is the big story. To walk us through Wilson rebelled is how she's been treated and the significance of how she's been treated. We welcome globe in mail columnist Elizabeth frenzy to the big story podcast. Hey, liz. Hi, sarah. Thanks for coming on happy to be. We'll tell me a little about about what you know about Wilson rebelled. She, you know, she's a big deal and Trudeau's gender-balanced cabinet no longer in cabinet, but what's hers sort of Baxter. Started get here to begin with, you know, about well, she was the first indigenous woman to be Justice minister and attorney general. And then of course, she was and she was a lawyer quite celebrated lawyer in British Columbia and indigenous woman as well. And she, of course, famously was demoted from her position of Justice minister and attorney general into veterans affairs Menton widely considered to be a demotion. Although, of course, veterans affairs is really important portfolio. But then we what happened after that is what sort of I think she was fairly well known to the public eye because of high profile legal and Justice issues on the federal landscape like cannabis legalization the right to die legislation and things like that. So she'd always been quite how high profile, but this particular scandal around SNC level has really put her profile in her just in the stratosphere. Yeah. I of the storm really I have the store. Yeah. So and I really last week felt like the day that she testified, you know, she's sitting for hours in front of the Justice committee in your watching. How did you feel? Yeah. It was quite extraordinary felt like, you know, one of those moments where the entire country stopped oddly, everyone, I knew had stopped and was sitting somewhere watching this. And it, of course, happened on the same day that Michael Cohen Trump's former lawyer was testifying. Before congress in the United States, and that was a much more combative and kind of fiery weird mail boisterous. Angry confrontation. And then there came Jodie Wilson Ray bold and sat down with no one sitting beside her and her, I guess possibly assistance behind her and in front of what is I'm sure the most packed Justice committee. There has ever been sure there are people lined up outside and she testified in the most extraordinary way. Like, just very calm. Very methodical. Very meticulous. Never sort of giving away any like sense that she felt you know, angry or anything like that. It was just very calm. She laid out what had happened to her. And I think for most people more persuasive for the kind of calmness with which she laid out her as she said her truth. Yeah. And let's talk about that, you know, really did land. Well with a lot of. Canadians. And and I think she speaks her truth was the headline Tronto star the next day. You know, what do you read into that positive response to to the way that she testified? Did she have to do that in order to be credible to be listened to to be heard? Well, we'd had a vacuum around this right for round this issue for the longest time, the prime minister would say a couple of little things. And then there was you know, people briefing off the record and things and you'd get those versions in the news. But there was never there was no kind of their their until she spoke. There was no central narrative until she spoke about what had happened during this. We'd had my Gornik the chief of the Clark with a Privy Council speaking, but apart from that sort of none of the central players had spoken. And so I think there was a real hunger to have some kind of sense of instead of innuendo and slur. And background noise. Actually have somebody lay down what they saw to be the kind of accurate series of events, according to their point of view, which is what she did. Yeah. And she had the receipts. Right. She had only had the receipts. She she spills the tea. Yeah. She. Did she had it seemed to me very loyally? You know, she laid things out methodically. She had clearly kept contemporaneous notes. She had emails and texts and things like that. And never in the almost I think it was four hours of testimony. Did she divert from this narrative of this is what happened to me? And this is how I felt and she didn't use hyperbolic language or anything. But it was all the more powerful for that. For her just using little tiny. Phrases like veiled threats, and then she made, you know, a reference to Richard Nixon and the Saturday night massacre. You know in which he he needed to get people to do his dastardly bidding and went down the list in the department of Justice until he found somebody who would. So these things I think were because she spoke so carefully, and so directly it had a real impact, and there was no hyperbole. There was no kind of you out when he was testifying was much more passionate and emboldened and kind of forceful threats to democracy, and you know, somebody's gonna get killed. There's crazy culture of or or or aura of of partisanship in violence in the in the air, which I think is probably you know, I think is there is there's some act today. Yeah. For sure, but her testimony was so different. And so much more powerful for it. Yes. That's her position in all this scandal and controversy, but do you what do you sort of see when you put a gender lens on that? As a woman having to be believed. Incredible. I think we've seen lots of obviously way different context. But, you know, lots of testimonies from women who are needing to be have their side of the version of things hurt. And and a lot of ways there. It doesn't get the weight that I think you have Christine Blasi. Maybe. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I'm Christine Blasi Ford who still has not been able as far as I know to move back into her house and is still suffering death threats. Now has to have, you know, people around her bodyguards and things and so just to be clear. She was the the woman who said that as a teen she was sexually assaulted by Brad Cavanaugh who is now on the supreme court bench in the United States. Yes. Exactly. So we do kind of I think for better or worse. Partly because there are so few women in these very high positions of power. So when they do come forward to testify for better or worse. They do kind of, you know, the intensity of our gazes upon them because they are few and far between, and I don't I don't think you can separate that four Jodie Wilson Rabaul because I don't know if you know this, but Justin Trudeau as a feminist is. Yeah, it's true. I know I thought I should be the first one and. And he had a gender-balanced cabinet twenty. She was a major star player. Exactly. She was a a major star player. So I think what's happened is as I wrote in a column at the time live by the effort die by the effort. So he has made such he's really tied so much of his credibility. I think to this idea of gender Justice gender equity, the pushing of progressive feminist causes and a half to say in many ways, the government has been good. You know, there have been there has been terrific legislation in certain ways. But if you're going to present yourself as being pure than pure and more pristine than pristine than anytime, you are seeing to step outside that boundary anytime, you are perhaps seeing to be treating a senior female member of your cabinet in a way that is not necessarily progressive or perhaps there are other members of your caucus who are briefing against her or are saying things about her. That frankly, smack of sexism even off the record, then that's gonna look really bad. And I think that's what we saw here. And also there have been reports of some really racist and sexist language used against her, you know, within the government, but also out in the world. What have you sort of seen or heard about that? Oh, yeah. There's been all kinds of things, and we had a couple of liberal male liberal backbenchers say things about her along the lines of you know, she couldn't handle the stress or she wasn't a team player. One said that her father was perhaps pulling her strings, which is just I know. Yeah. Later apologized for it. And he apologized in the house, which is good. But in a way, I actually find hearing those things oddly refreshing, because I know so many people actually think them and to congratulate about loud, like at least we get to see people truly feel and then it becomes obvious. And then we can. Deal with it. Right. And so now, you know, nobody I was actually quite surprised that we did hear things along those lines. What we've heard also an again, this is more off the record stuff is you know, that she was difficult. Not a team player. Difficult can be code, right? Absolutely. No. There's no doubt about it whatsoever. There's all these coded words that are used for women, especially women in leadership roles, especially women in politics and unlikable is big one or likable be here with Hillary Clinton all the time. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Or Elizabeth Warren, or you know, any of the American politicians likeable team player, you know, cooperative. And it's it's interesting because traditionally what women are thought to bring to leadership tables, whether it's the boardroom or political leadership tables is the so-called soft skills. Right. Soft power. So that is empathy you know, team being a team player being able to work well with others collaboration. So I think any woman who then diverts from that script no matter in how small away is branded as perhaps even more harshly than than her male colleagues would be and he kept calling her Jodi in the early days. Right. It was like Jodi, you know, it's going to do this or that. And I'm like, she's a minister, right, right? Able to you. Yeah. Right honourable. Yeah. Exactly. I'm, but, but you know, what do you see is really hypocritical on his part, then you know, you really outlined. Very well. You know, the the double standards, I think for a lot of women who are in powerful roles like Why's it as an especially bad problem for Justin Trudeau because he hasn't. This is bidden his entire brand. I so I interviewed last week I interviewed this famous American journalists in Toronto named Rebecca traced to American feminist journalist, and she was kind of golf smacked by the whole scandal. Because she said when you look from outside our country, what they know about Justin Trudeau is that he's a great feminist, and the you know that he pushes women's equality, and that has been the brand that they built from you know, from when the when he was in"