First Nations leaders praise Wilson-Raybould but don’t take sides against Trudeau

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OTTAWA — Several Indigenous leaders say former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was deeply brave in her explosive testimony on the SNC-Lavalin affair, but they’re steering clear of criticizing the Trudeau government.

Wilson-Raybould had been the highest-ranking Indigenous person ever in the Canadian government.

Wednesday, she told the House of Commons justice committee she faced relentless, inappropriate pressure from Trudeau and several top aides, the Privy Council Office and the office of Finance Minister Bill Morneau, asking her to politically interfere in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations says he witnessed integrity, strength and courage while watching Wilson-Raybould testify.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations executive also issued a statement of support, applauding Wilson-Raybould for displaying ethics and integrity and calling her a role model for all First Nations and future generations.

Clement Chartier, president of the Metis National Council, said he felt the fact Wilson-Raybould is an Indigenous woman does not make the SNC-Lavalin affair an Indigenous issue and that leaders are focused on reconciliation through measures such as new legislation to revitalize Indigenous languages and keep First Nations children out of foster care.