OTTAWA (Reuters) – Former Canadian justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who quit the Cabinet in 2019 after a clash with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on Tuesday said voters should remember he had broken many of his promises.
Wilson-Raybould became the first indigenous person to be named justice minister when Trudeau appointed her in 2015, part of a stated commitment to improve the lives of the largely marginalized and impoverished aboriginal population.
But she said that over the years it became clear to her that Trudeau would not be living up to commitments on matters such as indigenous affairs and the need for electoral reform.
“There are a lot of pretty words … but there are a lot of promises that have been made that have not been kept. And that leads, of course, to disillusionment and disappointments,” she said in an interview with Reuters to mark the publication of her book “Indian in the Cabinet” ahead of the Sept. 20 election.
The book featured in the campaign last week after the publication of an extract in which she accused Trudeau of wanting her to lie about a dispute they had over a corporate legal case. He denied https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-trudeau-denies-wanting-his-ex-justice-minister-lie-election-looms-2021-09-11 the charge.
Wilson-Raybould, 50, dismissed a suggestion she was seeking revenge, noting the publication date had been announced months before Trudeau called the election in August.
She had spent much of her career pushing for increased aboriginal rights before being named minister. As time passed, she said, her hopes of major changes faded.
“I believed I was being appointed because I had a different world view, because I had in-depth knowledge and experience. … I realized I was simply an Indian in the Cabinet,” she told Reuters.
As the dispute with Trudeau worsened, Wilson-Raybould was moved to the veterans affairs portfolio in early 2019.
She quickly resigned, and was booted from the Liberal Party. But she won re-election as an independent legislator in 2019. She is not running in this election.
Trudeau’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
In the book, Wilson-Raybould says she is angry at herself for believing at one point that Trudeau “was an honest and good person when in truth he would so casually lie to the public and then think he could get away with it”.
During their last meeting Wilson-Raybould says she told Trudeau: “I wish that I had never met you.”
Wilson-Raybould declined to say whether she felt Trudeau was qualified to be prime minister or wanted him to lose next week.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Jonathan Oatis)