Justin Trudeau said he’d support indigenous leaders.
Justin Trudeau said he’s a feminist.
Justin Trudeau is a terrific actor, however. There he was, after his latest cabinet shuffle, and butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. He almost sounded offended.
Demoting a competent, smart, inspiring indigenous woman like Jody Wilson-Raybould – as the Liberal leader had literally done, just minutes before inside Rideau Hall – wasn’t a demotion at all, he huffed. There can be no greater honour than working with Canada’s veterans, he insisted.
And if some other Prime Minister had said it, it’d be partly true: it is an honour assisting the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces. But under Trudeau, it was a lie. Under him, Veteran’s Affairs has become a political landfill. Under him, veterans have been disregarded, disrespected, and litigated against in the courts.
So, everyone recognized Trudeau’s claim for what it was, which was unadulterated bullshit.
This was the truth: Jody Wilson-Raybould was demoted – as she effectively later confirmed herself, in her own words, with an extraordinary statement to the constituents who first elected her in 2015. She’d been dumped. She’d been rendered PNG – persona non grata, to appropriate a phrase from The PMO Kid’s fave TV show, The Americans.
Why? Because she threatened them.
Leaving aside her gender, leaving aside her indigenous heritage, Wilson-Raybould was simply the most effective Minister of Justice in a long, long time. And she was insufficiently deferential to Justin Trudeau and the grievance-nurturing children who comprise his entourage. Or, as a Maclean’s writer memorably called them, “a tiny cadre of out-of-their-league staffers operating out of the Building Formerly Known as Langevin.”
Jody Wilson-Raybould spoke truth to power, as she herself said. She didn’t suffer fools gladly, as was well-known. She was impatient for change – for women, for the forgotten, for First Nations people.
But Justin Trudeau and his oxymoronic brain trust – who always regard dissent as treason, and who always see themselves alone as the stewards of all that is good and true and Canadian – didn’t like that. They didn’t like that at all.
As “feminists,” as those who claim to empower all women, their most revealing moment came last Summer, when it was confirmed that Justin Trudeau had groped a female reporter at a long-ago festival in B.C. Trudeau’s response?
Believe women when they come forward. Just, you know, don’t believe that woman. Support women who are victimized by men.
Just not that one.
Jody Wilson-Raybould has achieved plenty in her career, as a wildly-successful lawyer, as a Crown Attorney, as the leader of the B.C. Treaty Commission, as the Grand Chief of her home province. She knows Trudeau’s type, one suspects. All capable women do.
Justin Trudeau – who was the beneficiary of the most inept Conservative and New Democratic election campaigns in a generation – is entirely that type. He was born to immense wealth, was elected due to his surname, and never held a Parliamentary position more senior than the youth critic for the third party in the House of Commons.
But as an actor – as the willing receptacle for bland, beige talking points, wheedled out of a focus group somewhere – he is without equal. He is indisputably the Phoney-in-Chief, and he is exceptionally good at it.
Will female voters be offended by Trudeau’s ritual knifing of Jody Wilson-Raybould? It’s unlikely, for now. With Andrew Scheer’s social media still churning out frat boy bumpersticker stuff – and with Jagmeet Singh continuing his downward descent into irrelevance – female voters, historically reliably liberal, will keep their powder dry.
Will indigenous leaders turn against Trudeau for what he did to Jody Wilson-Raybould? That seems more likely. Across Canada, indigenous leaders are increasingly muttering to each other that, at least with Stephen Harper, he was always truthful about his disinterest in their issues. Justin Trudeau, they say, cheerily says one thing to them, and then does another.
And what of Jody Wilson-Raybould? She should resist the temptation to quit – because that’s what Trudeau and his acolytes want her to do. She should do her new job well, bide her time, and wait for her moment.
Her leadership moment. It is coming.
And, she should always remember this: smart, capable women are used to dealing with insecure boy-men who have more power than brains.
Jody Wilson-Raybould is just the latest.
With Justin Trudeau, she won’t be the last.