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'A full circle since the crash': Families reflect on anniversary of Humboldt Broncos tragedy

‘A full circle since the crash’: Families reflect on anniversary of Humboldt Broncos tragedy


It’s a year in which families say they have lived through difficult firsts.

The first birthday since the crash. A first Thanksgiving. A first Christmas.

Today marks the first anniversary of the April 6, 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Family members of the 29 people involved in the crash and nearly 3,000 members of the public are expected to gather at the Elgar Petersen arena, the heart of hockey in Humboldt, Sask., to mourn together.

“It’s hard for me to believe a year is gone but I also say to so many people, it feels like I’ve lived a lifetime because this past year as we grieve, we are grieving publicly,” said Laurie Thomas, mother of Evan Thomas, one of the  hockey players killed in the collision.

Indeed, it’s a grief that has unfolded at the forefront of public consciousness. Stories about the crash, the recovery of survivors and most recently, the emotionally-charged sentencing for truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, have dominated national news coverage.

Those daily reminders of the crash have been painful for Marilyn Hay, mother of Tyler Bieber, who said she needs today’s memorial for her healing.

“I miss my son immensely. I can feel him with me. We’ve just got to move on, I’m thinking, after Saturday,” she said.

“To me, it’s coming to the end. It’s a full circle since the crash.”

Marilyn Hay shows a tattoo of her son Tyler Bieber on her left arm. (Bonnie Allen/CBC)

For the family of Logan Boulet, Humboldt is calling them to come from their home in Lethbridge, Alta., to take part in the ceremony.

Logan is our son and we will always be here for him.– Toby Boulet , father of crash victim 

Toby Boulet told CBC News that he and his wife and daughter are drawn to come to any gathering that remembers the 29 people aboard the bus. His son and 15 others passed on, while 13 survived with life-changing physical and mental scars they will live with forever, he said.   

“When the community of Humboldt gathers to remember, then certainly a Boulet will be there,” Toby Boulet wrote in a message to CBC News.

“We cannot expect Humboldt to remember for us. Logan is our son and we will always be here for him.”

Bernadine and Toby Boulet, parents of the late Humboldt Broncos hockey player Logan Boulet, pose at their home in Lethbridge, Alta., on Dec. 6, 2018. (David Rossiter/The Canadian Press)

The game plays on

Thomas has spent the past year sharing photos and stories about her son on Facebook and Twitter, crafting a living reminder that survives beyond his death.

“Photos are such a good memory, but it’s also because I miss him at times, and I’m grieving because my heart is broken, because I physically miss his laughter, I miss his smile, I miss his hug,” she said.

Laurie Thomas (right) said she has to live and fight on, because that’s what her son, Evan Thomas, would want her to do. (Submitted by Laurie Thomas)

Like Hay, Thomas said she hopes the anniversary represents a turning point, where the focus shifts from the tragedy to allowing her to move forward.

“Evan would want that,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard because you don’t want to move forward, you don’t want to get out of bed.”

But life goes on after Humboldt. Thomas said she has a daughter to look after and her son’s legacy to uphold.

And there’s more left in the game to play.

“I can hear Evan go, ‘You’ve got to get up and conquer the world today mom — because that’s what you taught me.'”



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Canada's window to defend the Arctic is closing, MP warns

Canada’s window to defend the Arctic is closing, MP warns


An MP who has been looking into the militarization of the North warns that if Canada doesn’t act now, it could slowly lose its grip on the Arctic.

Liberal John McKaythe Canadian co-chair of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence with the U.S., says he fears Canada isn’t ready to defend its territory as the threat from Russia slowly expands.

“We are not very well prepared,” he said.

Russia already has missile launchers and air defence systems dotted along ice roads at various military outposts in remote areas along its northern coast.

In the last five years, the Kremlin has poured vast resources into revamping Soviet-era bases in the Arctic.

“There is a very dramatic buildup of Russian military capability right across the top end of Russia, starting with Norway, working right across, right through to Alaska,” McKay said Friday in an interview with Chris Hall airing today on CBC Radio’s The House.

Russia isn’t the only country expanding its command of the north as climate change opens access to resources and shipping lanes. The U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway are all nudging their way into the polar region as well. 

This map shows the locations of Russian military outposts in the far North. (John McKay/Supplied)

However, Russia seems to be moving in quickly. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made no secret of his goal to lay claim to a large portion of the Arctic, citing the estimated value of minerals in the north at $30 trillion.

The speed of Russia’s expansion is making other nations nervous.

Last month, the American commander of NORAD called on U.S. and Canadian policy makers to think about whether they’re doing enough to counter Russian threats in the far North.

“We haven’t seen this sort of systematic and methodical increase in threats since the height of the Cold War,” Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy told the group.

Missiles, ships, troops

McKay shares those concerns. “It’s not just simply the presence of significant numbers of troops but it’s also missiles, and ships, and ballistic missiles, and low altitude cruise missiles,” he said.

McKay recently attended a meeting of the joint board where participants discussed the rapid expansion of Russia’s military presence in the region.

McKay said he’s still not convinced the White House understands what’s at stake.

A Russian military Pansyr-S1 air defence system leaves a garage during a military drill. (Vladimir Isachenkov/Associated Press)

“Clearly there is a certain indifference on the part of President (Donald) Trump.”

But McKay said he also wants to see Canada ramp up Arctic defence.

“I would like to see more resources applied to what has become a security issue for us, primarily driven by the fact that climate change has opened up the sea lanes.”

He also cautioned that the government needs to act quickly and decisively, before things get worse.

“I think the window of opportunity is closing quickly. And I’m not sure that many Canadians are actually aware how quickly it is closing.”



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Public Health Agency of Canada says salmonella outbreak hits 6 provinces, dozens sick

Public Health Agency of Canada says salmonella outbreak hits 6 provinces, dozens sick


Health officials are investigating an outbreak of salmonella in six provinces that has sickened 63 people, including 18 who have been hospitalized.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says there are laboratory-confirmed cases in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

The agency says the source of the bacterial infection has not been identified.

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a food safety investigation,” a government release says. “If contaminated food products are identified, they will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling food products as required.

“Currently there are no food recall warnings associated with this outbreak.”

It says the outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses continue to be reported.

Two deaths have been reported, but the agency says it has not been determined whether salmonella was a contributing cause.

The agency says the people who became ill range in age from one to 87. Individuals became sick between November and March.

The agency said anyone can become sick from salmonella but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness.

Salmonella is a common bacteria that causes intestinal illness. Symptoms may include chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. 

It is usually caused by eating contaminated foods that have not been cooked properly, but can also be spread from one person to another if people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.

The breakdown of known cases as of Friday includes 23 people in B.C., ten people each in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. There are eight cases in Saskatchewan and two in Quebec.

Deaths reported in Winnipeg

Earlier Friday, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said two people had died after testing positive for salmonella at a personal care home in the city, but health officials said it has not been confirmed whether the bacterial infection contributed to the deaths.

Three residents of the Golden West Centennial Lodge tested positive last month and two of them later died in hospital. The third person recovered.

Joyce Kristjansson, the care home’s executive director, said staff brought in special measures while the outbreak was investigated. Residents were not allowed to move off their own floors, all group activities were cancelled and extra emphasis was put on hand-washing for people entering and leaving the building.

“What I would stress is that we do have a very frail population here and we did communicate with all of the families when we were first notified,” she said.

Public health inspectors worked with the care home to try to determine how the outbreak began. The investigation included a kitchen inspection, but no signs of contamination were found.

Health officials lifted the measures on Tuesday and the cases were reported to a national intestinal monitoring program and the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.

Three residents of the Golden West Centennial Lodge tested positive last month and two of them later died in hospital. The third person recovered. (CBC)

Food safety expert Rick Holley, professor emeritus in food science at the University of Manitoba, said the rate of hospitalizations due to salmonella in Canada is about 20 cases per 100,0000 people. The federal government estimates there are about 87,500 cases each year.

Most people recover from the infection after about three days of feeling ill.

“But in about 10 per cent of the population — these would be folks that are older or very young, or those that would suffer a health condition that affects the operation of their immune system — there can be very serious effects” including death, he said.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled frozen chicken nuggets three times this year over fears of salmonella contamination.

If people cook their food properly and practice good hygiene, they can usually avoid serious issues with salmonella, Holley said.

“These organisms don’t fool around. They exist to multiply and grow, and they just love to grow at body temperature.”





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Sono Motors Introduces The SION Solar Powered Car

Sono Motors Introduces The SION Solar Powered Car


The fantasy of having the capacity to drive to work in a solar-powered car is at last turning into a reality. Sono Motors simply uncovered the SION solar-powered electric car gives you the ability to travel up to 18 miles utilizing only energy from the sun. Best of all, the SION isn’t only for the whealthy, since it just costs 16,000 Euros (around $18,600) in addition to the cost of the battery, and it is pressed with unbelievable components like built-in moss filtration, bi-directional charging and integrated solar panels.

Sono Motors Sion Solar Powered Car

A year ago, Sono Motors, a German startup raised over $200,000 create the SION. Utilizing 300 photovoltaic panels, the SION can store enough energy from the sun to give you the ability to travel up to 18 miles, however in the event that you have to travel further, the SION can likewise be energized utilizing a standard outlet, similar to a regular electric auto. Depending on the amount you want to spend, you can rent the battery month to month, or buy outright.

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Accused in Toronto van attack faces mounting lawsuits from victims with traumatic injuries

Accused in Toronto van attack faces mounting lawsuits from victims with traumatic injuries


Traumatic brain injuries, spinal fractures and internal bleeding are among the litany of ailments described in a mounting number of lawsuits against a man accused of killing 10 people and injuring 16 others in a van attack in Toronto last year.

Lawyers involved in the suits against Alek Minassian believe the cases, which the court is working to pull together in one large proceeding, will take years to come to a resolution.

On April 23, 2018, police allege Minassian drove a white Ryder rental van south along Yonge Street in the city’s north end, hopped the curb and deliberately mowed people down.

While Minassian’s criminal case slowly makes its way through the system — his trial on 10 first-degree murder charges and 16 attempted murder charges has been scheduled for February 2020 — the 26-year-old already faces four civil suits, with more expected.

The lawsuits, from the families of one person who died and three who were injured, are seeking millions of dollars from Minassian and Ryder Truck Rental Canada, alleging the devastating injuries and deaths on that day were due to an intentional act by Minassian and negligence on his and the rental company’s part.

The unproven civil suits will be fought in the trenches of insurance law.

“This is going to drag on for a long, long time,” said Gus Triantafillopoulos, who represents the family of Anne Marie D’Amico, a young woman who died that day and whose family filed a $1-million suit in January against Minassian and Ryder.

Triantafillopoulos said if the family receives any money through the civil proceedings, it will all be donated to the Anne Marie D’Amico Foundation, which supports women who are victims of violence.

On April 23, 2018, police allege Alek Minassian drove a white Ryder rental van south along Yonge Street in Toronto’s north end, hopped the curb and deliberately mowed people down. Ten people were killed and 16 others were injured. (LinkedIn)

The first suit related to Minassian was filed in November 2018 by Amir Kiumarsi, a chemistry instructor at Ryerson University who is seeking $6 million in damages.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury and several skull fractures, spinal fractures, traumatic internal injuries including a displaced kidney, and numerous other injuries throughout his entire body, the claim says.

“These injuries have been accompanied by severe physical pain, suffering and a loss of enjoyment of life,” the claim alleges, noting that his future holds “numerous surgical and medical assessments, treatments and procedures.”

Since Kiumarsi filed his suit, the court is in the process of getting all the cases on one track, documents show.

Another suit was filed in mid-January by Amaresh Tesfamariam and her family, who are seeking $14 million. Tesfamariam has a complete spinal cord injury, multiple spinal fractures, rib fractures and a traumatic brain injury.

She cannot move her body below her neck, cannot breathe without a machine, suffers a total loss of independence and a “profound and permanent loss of her cognitive ability,” according to the claim.

Tesfamariam also has short-term memory loss, depression, anxiety, a “drastic personality change,” cannot communicate properly with others, and cannot return to her work as a nurse, the claim alleges.

Latest suit filed last week

The latest suit, filed last week by Catherine Riddell and her family, alleges the “sustained serious and permanent” injuries the woman suffered are the result of negligence on the part of Minassian and the rental company.

Riddell lost consciousness, suffered a brain injury, hurt her head, neck, shoulders, arms, back, legs and arms. She fractured her spine, ribs, pelvis, scapula, and suffered internal injuries including a collapsed lung, the $3.55-million suit alleges.

She lives with headaches, memory loss, difficulty finding words, dizziness, back and neck pain, loss of mobility, nausea, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and depression, her claim alleges, noting that she now faces a life of therapy, rehabilitation and medical treatment.

“Her enjoyment of life has been permanently lessened, and she has been forced to forgo numerous activities in which she formerly participated,” the claim reads.

Minassian does not yet have legal representation in the civil matters and has not responded to the claims, according to the documents. His criminal lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawyers for Ryder, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, detailed the expected complexities in the litigation in an affadavit filed with the court.

It notes that notice has been given for 12 claims and more are expected. There will be numerous parties in the case, from families of the dead to the injured and the various defendants. There will be examinations for all plaintiffs, and testimony is expected from numerous medical experts.

“It would be safe to assume this matter will require a lengthy trial,” said the affidavit.

Kiumarsi’s lawyer, Darcy Merkur, said there will be a slew of arguments brought forward.

“One interesting question is this: Is every different person hurt considered a separate accident?” Merkur said. “It’s a legal question, but also a philosophical one.”

The answer to that question will be important for potential payments, he said.



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Petal peddlers from across the world bring exotic beauties to St. Albert orchid show

Petal peddlers from across the world bring exotic beauties to St. Albert orchid show


Among the hundreds of orchids on display in St. Albert at the 42nd Annual Orchid Fair this weekend, it takes a special kind of flower to stand out.

“Something may have tiny little flowers in the same category as something with great big flowers,” orchid judge Sandy Bedford told CBC’s Radio Active on Friday, as she sized up the competition.

“But they both have different potential so it’s a matter of who is living up to their potential.”

This is the largest American Orchid Society judged show in Canada.

Judges train for seven years to meet the international standards for evaluating these flowers. 

For many orchids sellers, they’ve learned the trade over generations. 

Ivan Portilla came to Edmonton from Ecuador for the event. His family owns Ecuagenera, a family-run orchid company that was founded in the 1950s.

Ecuador is home to 4,500 native orchid species, giving his orchids an advantage when it comes attracting buyers.

“People find it interesting growing the Dracula, or monkey-face, orchid,” he said.

Dracula — or, if you want to get fancy, one of the Pleurothallidinae subtribe of orchids — grow in South and Central American forests. The species, known for its flower centre that eerily resembles the image of a monkey’s face, is just one variety of rare orchids that Portilla’s company sells at fairs around the world.

The Dracula Transilvania orchid which grows in Ecuador is known for its monkey face appearance. (Ecuagenera website)

The company travels to 72 different orchid shows every year, he said.

“I do about 24, in the U.S., Canada and Guatemala, some in Europe,” he said. The work is spread out among brothers, nephews and other members of his family. 

This weekend, for example, Portilla and his family are attending five orchid shows: in addition to the one in Alberta, there are shows in Houston, Pennsylvania, Nashville and the last sibling is in Europe.

Shui-En Kao has been selling orchids since the 1970s and he said travel is part of life on the orchid circuit.

He ships the delicate flowers from Taiwan to Vancouver each year, then sends them on flights from fair to fair in Canada for his operation, Ching Hua.

“One year we came to Canada five or six times for orchid shows,” he said.

“Me and my son are always travelling. Last week Montreal and right now here in Edmonton.”

The orchid show runs through Sunday at the Enjoy Centre.



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Keystone XL pipeline opponents ask U.S. judge to strike down Trump's permit

Keystone XL pipeline opponents ask U.S. judge to strike down Trump’s permit


Opponents of the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline asked a U.S. federal court Friday in a lawsuit to declare President Donald Trump acted illegally when he issued a new permit for the project in a bid to get around an earlier court ruling.

In November, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the Trump administration did not fully consider potential oil spills and other impacts when it approved the pipeline in 2017.

TransCanada disputes that, saying Keystone XL has been studied more than any other pipeline in history. “The environmental reviews are clear: the project can be built and operated in an environmentally sustainable and responsible way,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO.

Trump’s new permit, issued last week, is intended to circumvent that ruling and kick-start the proposal to ship crude oil from the oilsands of western Canada to U.S. refineries.

White House officials have said the presidential permit is immune from court review. But legal experts say that’s an open question, and that the case could further test the limits of Trump’s use of presidential power to get his way.

Unlike previous orders from Trump involving immigration and other matters, his action on Keystone XL came after a court already had weighed in and blocked the administration’s plans.

“This is somewhat dumbfounding, the idea that a president would claim he can just say, ‘Never mind, I unilaterally call a do-over,”‘ said William Buzbee, a constitutional scholar and professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

The pipeline proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada has become a flashpoint in the debate over fossil fuel use and climate change.

Calgary-based TransCanada says Trump’s order ‘clarifies the national importance of Keystone XL.’ (Nati Harnik/Associated Press)

Opponents say burning crude from the oilsands of Western Canada would make climate change worse. The $8 billion project’s supporters say it would create thousands of jobs and could be operated safely.

The line would carry up to 830,000 barrels (about 132 million litres) of crude daily along a 1,900-kilometre path from Canada to Nebraska.

Trump trying to ‘evade rule of law’: environmental groups

Stephan Volker, a lawyer for the environmental groups that filed Friday’s lawsuit, said Trump was trying to “evade the rule of law” with the new permit.

“We have confidence that the federal courts — long the protectors of our civil liberties — will once again rise to the challenge and enforce the Constitution and the laws of this land,” Volker said.

The pipeline, first proposed in 2008, would begin in Alberta and go to Nebraska, where it would join with an existing pipeline to shuttle more than 800,000 barrels a day of crude to terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast. (Nati Harnik/Canadian Press)

The pipeline’s route passes through the ancestral homelands of the Rosebud Sioux in central South Dakota and the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine in Montana. Earlier this week, a court granted the tribes’ request to intervene in an appeal of Morris’s November ruling that was filed by TransCanada. That case is pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tribal officials contend a spill from the line could damage a South Dakota water supply system that serves more than 51,000 people including on the Rosebud, Pine Ridge and Lower Brule Reservations.

An existing TransCanada pipeline, also called Keystone, suffered a 2017 spill that released almost 10,000 barrels of oil near Amherst, S.D.



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Canadian Arctic has all the mineral ingredients for prized blue gemstones

Canadian Arctic has all the mineral ingredients for prized blue gemstones


Baffin Island holds some of its treasures in plain sight with rocks that produce rare gems sitting exposed to the elements, scientists say.

A new study from the University of British Columbia shows the area is home to a mineral that is prized by jewellers and collectors.

Study co-author Philippe Belley said in an interview that cobalt-blue spinel, “which is a ridiculously rare gemstone” gets a lot of interest from gemologists and jewellers but there’s not enough supply.

The most significant source of the gems is Vietnam, and even then production is limited, said Belley, who’s a PhD graduate within the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences.

He and report co-author UBC mineralogist Lee Groat conducted the first scientific study of the cobalt-blue spinel in Canada.

Research campsite on Baffin Island. (Submitted/Lee Groat)

Easy to spot on the island

Baffin Island is “really unique” because it has all the “right ingredients” needed to produce coloured gemstones but the area is “virtually” unexplored, Belley said.

“The rock is extremely well exposed so not only is it easy to see if you have a gem occurrence by just walking on the surface and doing geological mapping, but its also suitable for remote detection methods using drones and satellites to collect data on the rocks.”

Using remote detection can’t be done in most other gem-producing areas because of plant cover or challenging terrain, Belley said.

The researchers analysed 14 occurrences of spinel on Baffin Island, including two of cobalt-blue spinel, to better understand how it forms.

“It’s finding the right chemical components in the right concentration,” he said. “We found that most gem occurrences on Baffin Island were formed from the transformation of a mixture of mud and magnesium-rich limestone under high temperature and pressure.”

Almost 2 billion years old

They found it was formed 1.8 billion years ago at temperatures of about 800 C, but cobalt was only present in high-enough concentrations to produce gem-quality stones in small, localized areas.

Baffin Island spinel contains up to 500 parts-per-million of cobalt, giving it a vivid blue colour comparable to the best sources worldwide, Belley said in the news release.

Spinel also comes in red, pink and violet, Belley said.

Other gems found on Baffin Island include beluga sapphires, used in the Queen’s sapphire jubilee brooch, and lapis lazuli, a rock used as a gemstone by the Egyptians, he said.

Mining for the gems on Baffin Island wouldn’t necessarily leave a large geographical footprint, he said.

“Most gemstones are either mined from a relatively small mine and a lot of them are mined by one or a few people or families around the world, which is called artisanal mining.”

Baffin Island, Nunavut





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Trump calls on Federal Reserve to cut interest rates

Trump calls on Federal Reserve to cut interest rates


U.S. President Donald Trump called on the Federal Reserve to begin cutting interest rates, saying the economy will take off like a “rocketship” if the Fed begins loosening policy.

Trump, speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, said that he believes the central bank “really slowed us down” with the four rate hikes it imposed last year.

The president said those were unnecessary because there is “very little, if any inflation.”

“I think they should drop rates and I think they should get rid of quantitative tightening. You would see a rocket ship,” Trump said.

Trump has announced he intends to nominate to conservative political allies — Stephen Moore and former 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain — for two current vacancies on the seven-member Fed board.

Not meddling, says economics advisor

A top economics adviser to Trump says the administration is not trying to damage the independence of the Federal Reserve by appointing two of Trump’s close political allies to the Fed board.

Larry Kudlow, head of the president’s National Economic Council, says in an interview on the Fox Business Network that the administration is allowed to put people at the central bank who share the president’s views on the economy.

Kudlow was responding to criticism after Trump’s announcements that he plans to nominate conservative political allies — Stephen Moore and former 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain — to the two vacancies on the seven-member Fed board.

Trump’s choices were seen as escalating an effort by the White House to exert political pressure on the central bank.



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'I'll continue to speak my voice': Jody Wilson-Raybould 'incredibly open' to future in federal politics

‘I’ll continue to speak my voice’: Jody Wilson-Raybould ‘incredibly open’ to future in federal politics


Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould says she hasn’t ruled out a future in federal politics, saying she is “entirely committed” to public policy issues like reconciliation and climate change just as she was when she first ran for a seat in Ottawa nearly four years ago.

Despite being at the centre of the months-long SNC-Lavalin controversy, Wilson-Raybould told CBC’sThe Early Edition that she’s still “incredibly open” to being involved with decisions made in Ottawa. 

“I still have a commitment to ensuring that our governments, the government politics in Ottawa, is and becomes a different way of making decisions, a different way of doing politics,” the Vancouver Granville MP said during a phone interview before boarding a flight home from Ottawa.

“And [as for] what the people of Vancouver Granville feel — and I hope that they feel at liberty to tell me how they feel — I’ll make a decision on what I do [in the fall].”

‘I still believe in the values and the principles of equality and inclusion and justice that I feel underpin the Liberal Party,’ Wilson-Raybould said. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Wilson-Raybould first got involved in federal politics because Justin Trudeau, as leader of the Liberal Party, asked her to run in the 2015 federal election. She went on to become the country’s first Indigenous justice minister and attorney general.

But a scandal erupted two months ago when the Globe and Mail reported that Wilson-Raybould had faced inappropriate political pressure on a criminal prosecution decision against SNC-Lavalin. Wilson-Raybould and her former cabinet colleague Jane Philpott both later resigned from cabinet to protest the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin file.

Trudeau ejected both MPs from caucus on Tuesday, leaving them as back-corner independents.

Jane Philpott (left) and Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet to protest the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin file. The prime minister ejected both MPs from caucus on Tuesday, leaving them as back-corner independents. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Reconciliation issues

On Friday, Wilson-Raybould said she still sees many of the same issues unresolved today as she did in 2015.

“I believe fundamentally that in order to transform indigenous communities, we need to, as a government and as a country, create a space for Indigenous peoples to be self-determinant. And that’s why I ran [in 2015],” she said.

“I do still see … the fundamental need to create the space for a transformative relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights.

“That is something that I am entirely committed to.”

The ousting of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott from the Liberal caucus has fuelled accusations that the party has abandoned its 2015 campaign commitments to Indigenous reconciliation and gender equality — but the former attorney general, despite having fallen out of favour with the party, said she still supports many Liberal ideals. 

“I was a member of the Liberal Party, I still believe in the values and the principles of equality and inclusion and justice that I feel underpin the Liberal Party, and so many Canadians signed up for the Liberal Party back in 2015 believing in the same thing — or even in doing politics differently,” she said, adding that she sees Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as a “worry” for the future of reconciliation.

“I absolutely still believe in that.”

Wilson-Raybould’s constituency office in Vancouver. ‘I hope that they feel at liberty to tell me how they feel,’ she said of her Vancouver Granville constituents, concerning her future in politics. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

‘I was doing my job’

The MP’s riding of Vancouver Granville, formed in 2013, has been in a mix of shock and support for its ousted representative. Wilson-Raybould said she’s been out door-knocking in her riding to talk to constituents in light of the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

“I have to say, and this is what I said to people that I found on the doorsteps in Vancouver Granville and chat, is that I was doing my job,” she said.

“I’ll continue to speak my voice as long as I have the great fortune of being the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville, in that capacity and then all other capacities I’ll be fortunate enough to fulfil,” she continued.

“I need to, of course, continue to talk to my husband and my family. I’m coming home and I’m so looking forward to getting back to Vancouver talking to my volunteers in the riding, to, particularly, constituents, and hearing what they have to say.”



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