Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould is shown with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw hereditary chiefs in a photo posted to Twitter on Sunday.

Jody Wilson-Raybould honoured at ceremony on Vancouver Island amid controversy

Show of support comes as SNC-Lavalin controversy deepens

Embattled former minister of justice and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould attended a ceremony and feast held in her honour on Vancouver Island on Saturday as the SNC-Lavalin scandal deepened in Ottawa.

Elders came up with idea to recognize Wilson-Raybould at the ceremony in Campbell River, said Robert Duncan, chief administrative officer for We Wai Kai Nation, which is based in Campbell River and neighbouring Quadra Island.

The Liberal MP for Vancouver-Granville is a We Wai Kai member, and she’s at the centre of a political crisis that has embroiled the federal government for weeks.

In an email, Duncan said the “intent of the feast and ceremony was to show the world that we love this woman of integrity (Puglaas) and wanted to give her a great big hug and demonstrate our support for her.”

Puglaas, Wilson-Raybould’s Kwak’wala name, translates to “woman born of noble people” or “woman with integrity.”

READ MORE: New Democrat and Tory politicians from North Island weigh in on SNC-Lavalin affair

The ceremony, which took place on Saturday afternoon at Kwanwatsi Big House or House of Thunder on the Wei Wai Kum reserve in central Campbell River, was attended by about 500 people. Wei Wai Kum First Nation is also known as the Campbell River Indian Band.

Led by Wilson-Raybould’s grandmother’s Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw nation, the four-hour ceremony involved a traditional brushing with spruce boughs and was meant to give her strength, Duncan said.

Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw traditional territories are located in a coastal area northeast of Vancouver Island, according to a map on the website of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Tribal Council.

Duncan said that many other nations from B.C. attended and were given a chance to show their respect and appreciation for Wilson-Raybould, many bringing gifts and songs. This was followed by a traditional feast at nearby Thunderbird Hall.

On Twitter, Wilson-Raybould posted a message of thanks with a photo of herself with several Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw hereditary chiefs.

“Continue to feel empowered & grateful our Indigenous laws, culture & Nations remain so strong,” she said in the tweet.

READ MORE: Labour minister says it was ‘unethical’ for Wilson-Raybould to record call

Wilson-Raybould served as minister of justice and attorney general under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau but was reassigned as minister of veterans affairs in January.

She quit that position the following month amid reports that she came under pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office to stop a criminal prosecution of the multinational engineering firm of SNC-Lavalin in favour of a deferred prosecution agreement.

She later testified that she believes she was moved to Veterans Affairs as punishment for refusing to succumb to the pressure.

Saturday’s event in Campbell River follows the release of a 17-minute audio clip of a phone conversation with Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick recorded in secret by Wilson-Raybould in December.

READ MORE: Gerald Butts provides notes, texts to justice committee on SNC-Lavalin

In the call, Wernick repeatedly asks Wilson-Raybould why she was not using all the tools at her disposal on the SNC-Lavalin case. She pushes back, saying she would not override the decision of the director of public prosecutions to pursue a criminal prosecution against SNC-Lavalin for bribery and fraud related to its activities in Libya.

Wernick told her that Trudeau was “quite determined” on the matter and would likely “find a way to get it done one way or another.”

The audio was released on Friday by the House of Commons justice committee, along with a 43-page brief from Wilson-Raybould that includes emails and text messages.

In her written submission, Wilson-Raybould acknowledged recording the conversation was an “extraordinary and otherwise inappropriate step” but said she felt it necessary to have an exact record of what was discussed.

The audio has fueled criticism of the Liberal government for allegedly interfering in the SNC-Lavalin case. But it has also contributed to blowback against Wilson-Raybould, with Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu saying it was “unethical” for her to secretly record the phone call.

Wilson-Raybould is facing removal from the Liberal caucus, but has indicated that she plans to run as a Liberal in the upcoming federal election.

With files from the Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Castlegar woman to appear on Dragons’ Den

Happy Gut sells water kefir beverages and kits to make water kefir at home.

Four injured in Wednesday evening crash near Beasley

Police say alcohol may have been a factor in the incident

Update: accident between Castlegar and Nelson closes Hwy. 3

DriveBC estimates road will re-open at 2:15 a.m.

Green candidate reflects on South Okanagan-West Kootenay campaign

Rosslander Tara Howse talks about the highs and lows of running for office

Basin beer commercials on tap tonight at Trail theatre

The adults-only event in the Royal Theatre starts at 7 p.m.

B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

Most Read