Doing the right thing

In disappointed amazement, Canadians watched on February 26th as the former Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould gave testimony that she had received pressure and veiled threats in relation to pending court cases involving SNC Lavalin.

It’s alleged that the Prime Minister and members of his staff had initiated conversations designed to influence pending court cases involving SNC Lavalin. SNC has been the subject of numerous court actions here in Canada and around the world, which has resulted in them being barred from doing business in several countries worldwide.

As the Justice Minister and Attorney General, Wilson-Raybould is prohibited from getting involved in any cases that are before the courts. To her credit, she stood on determined principle which she now claims was the motivation behind the Prime Minister’s decision to remove her from her post as Attorney General.

The shear guts shown by Wilson-Raybould, the Member of Parliament who chose to properly represent the constituency of Vancouver Granville was something elected representatives from across Canada should strongly embrace and fully endorse. At the risk of further banishment, shunning and sanctioning by her party, she pressed on through her testimony knowing full well there will likely be dire consequences for her actions.

To the astonishment of many Canadians, the Liberal members of the House of Commons Justice committee attempted to attack the character of Wilson-Raybould. Their line of questioning was a ridiculously illegitimate attempt to protect their leader and party at the expense of doing the right thing, but then again, this is nothing new. The forum itself was legitimate but the line of questioning they chose was utterly illegitimate and an attempt to assistant Wilson-Raybould’s character.

Jody Wilson-Raybould took steps that so many are hesitant or even afraid to make, putting those they represent ahead of a political party. The determination which she pressed on with through the storm of partisan protectionism from her Liberal colleagues has elevated her personal character status with average Canadians. However, if you were to ask her if she thinks she’s a hero, I’m sure she’d tell you she was only, “doing the right thing.”

The decision to do the right thing has to start with knowing what that is. In the case of an elected representative, most of us would expect that to be putting what’s best for the people they represent ahead of a party ideology or special interest group. Unfortunately, party politics dictates a different prioritization of who your representative should put first, and it is not you.

As the people of Alberta and Canada have access to more information, they become more capable of comprehending what exactly has gone wrong politically. That is how a mentality that benefits a special interest such as SNC Lavalin can take hold. Unfortunately, as we witnessed with the Liberal members on the Justice committee, some elected representatives focus their loyalty on the party while completely disregarding the people they are supposed to be serving.

Doing the right thing sounds easy enough; however, as we say with Jody Wilson-Raybould, it comes at a price. Her initial resistance to the partisan pressure she received saw her removed as Justice Minister and her subsequent testimony was further motivation for her removal as Veteran’s Affairs Minister.

Ask yourself what’s more important, protecting a political party or doing the right thing? I believe it’s a question that Jody Wilson-Raybould answered in spades.