Jody Wilson-Raybould

Date of Birth: March 23, 1971
Political Party: Liberal Party of Canada (Independent)
Occupation: Minister of Veterans Affairs Associate, Minister of National Defense
Career Start: 2000
Residence: Burnaby, British Columbia,Canada.
Education: Political science and history at the University of Victoria, Law degree from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law

Life Story

Wilson-Raybould is a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples, which are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw, also known as the Kwak’wala-speaking peoples. She is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation. Wilson-Raybould carries the Kwak’wala name Puglaas which roughly translates to “woman born to noble people”.

Wilson-Raybould is the daughter of Bill Wilson, a First Nations hereditary chief, politician, and lawyer, and Sandra Wilson, a teacher. On Canadian national television in 1983, Wilson-Raybould’s father informed then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau that his two daughters hoped to become lawyers and then Prime Minister someday. Born at Vancouver General Hospital, she was raised in British Columbia, attending Robert Scott Elementary School in Port Hardy, British Columbia, where her mother also taught, and later Comox, British Columbia, graduating from Highland Secondary School.

Wilson-Raybould studied political science and history at the University of Victoria where she was awarded her Bachelor of Arts degree. She then studied for a law degree from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. She married Dr. Tim Raybould (1966), a First Nations negotiator and consultant and social anthropologist, on November 29, 2008.

Political Career

Wilson-Raybould began serving as Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada (MOJAG) on November 4, 2015, becoming the first Indigenous person and third woman to hold the office. On November 12, 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Wilson-Raybould her mandate letter, which asked her to deliver on, among other matters, responding to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on medical assistance in dying, reviewing the government’s litigation strategy, conducting a review of the changes in the criminal justice system and sentencing reforms over the previous decade (including looking to increase the use of restorative justice processes and other initiatives to reduce the rate of incarceration amongst indigenous Canadians), creating the process to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis, restoring a modern Court Challenges Program, introducing government legislation to add gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination under Canadian law, and reforming the Supreme Court of Canada nomination process to ensure that it is transparent, inclusive and accountable to Canadians. In December 2016, along with Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, she submitted the National Security Green Paper, “Our Security, Our Rights: National Security Green Paper, 2016”,a consultation paper aimed at informing further public discussion on issues of national security.

During the first six months in office, she introduced major legislation on medical assistance in dying—one of her key mandate letter commitments. In collaboration with her colleague, Health Minister Jane Philpott, Wilson-Raybould led the effort to pass Bill C-14, which received Royal Assent on June 17, 2016.

Wilson-Raybould also introduced Bill C-16, which amended the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination, which was another key mandate letter commitment. The legislation also amended the Criminal Code to extend protections against hate propaganda, and it received Royal Assent on June 16, 2017.

The Minister’s mandate letter called for a review of the Government’s litigation strategy to “end appeals or positions inconsistent with the Government’s commitments, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or Canadian values”. As part of that commitment, on January 11, 2019, she issued the Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples. The Directive guides the Government of Canada’s legal approaches, positions and decisions taken in civil litigation involving Aboriginal and treaty rights, and the Crown’s obligation towards Indigenous peoples. In 2017 she published the first-ever Litigation Year in Review with a subsequent edition in 2018.

On January 14, 2019, Trudeau made a cabinet shuffle, moving Wilson-Raybould from her role as the Minister of Justice & Attorney General to become the Minister of Veterans Affairs. The move was seen as a demotion, and initially believed to be related to Wilson-Raybould’s positions on indigenous reconciliation; Don Martin, host of CTV News Channel’s Power Play called it a ‘hit job’ and suggested it could be due to her criticism of the pace of reconciliation under the Trudeau government, while President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip called the decision “disappointing and disturbing”, saying “The removal of these critical and well-respected ministers, during a period of significant conflict and tension, demonstrates Trudeau’s lack of resolve to address Canada’s deplorable relationship with Indigenous peoples.” In a written statement, Wilson-Raybould said she would not talk about the shuffle, but did talk about her work as Justice Minister, about the unique responsibilities of the dual Minister of Justice/Attorney General role in Canadian government, and about the importance of avoiding the appearance of political interference.

She resigned from the Trudeau cabinet on February 12, 2019.

All the promises made before 2019 polls

  • Appointed a gender-balanced cabinet
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a big step toward gender parity when he historically unveiled Canada’s first ever gender balanced cabinet.
  • New Canada Child Benefit
    The Canada Child Benefit gives more money to 9 out of 10 Canadians families, and lifts almost 300,000 children out of poverty.
  • Lowered taxes for middle class
    The middle class tax cut helps to strengthen the middle class, benefiting about 9 million Canadians each year. When middle class Canadians have more money in their pockets to save, invest, and grow the economy, we all benefit.
  • Increased taxes for the wealthiest 1%
    To help pay for the middle-class tax cut, we asked the wealthiest one per cent of Canadians to contribute a little more. Taken together, these changes give middle class Canadians a tax break by making taxes fairer.
  • Pan-Canadian plan for pricing carbon pollution
    Pricing carbon pollution is a crucial step toward reducing emissions, spurring innovation, and creating well-paying jobs, while protecting our air and water for our children and grandchildren.
  • Unmuzzled government scientists
    By unmuzzling government scientists and allowing them to share their expertise, the Liberal government has begun to restore science’s important role in national policy.
  • Reinstated the long-form census
    Canada’s long-form census makes it possible to include evidence-based decision making and reliable data in national policy creation. With a 98.4% response rate, Stats Canada experienced its “best census ever.”
  • Revitalized federal ocean science programs
    The hiring of 135 new aquatic scientists and new research partnerships is an important part of protecting Canada’s oceans, waterways, and fisheries.
  • Expansion and Protection of Rouge National Park
    The Liberal government continues to put Canada’s environment first by ensuring broad ecological protection of Rouge National Urban Park.
  • Strengthening the Canada Pension Plan
    Achieving an agreement in principle with provinces and territories to strengthen the CPP is a powerful step toward helping Canadians have a strong, secure and stable retirement.
  • Returned OAS eligibility to 65
    Returning the eligibility age back to 65 for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement prioritizes how we care for older Canadians. It will put thousands of dollars back in the pockets of Canadians as they become seniors.
  • Increased Guaranteed Income Supplement payments for single seniors
    Strengthening income security for Canada’s most vulnerable single seniors reaffirms the government’s commitment to helping low-income seniors. This will improve the financial security of about 900,000 single seniors across Canada.
  • New funding for women’s shelters
    Budget 2016 provides significant new funding to ensure shelters and transition homes have the resources to help women and their families. An important step forward in the fight to end violence against women.
  • More money for infrastructure
    An historic $120 billion investment in infrastructure over 10 years will help strengthen Canadian communities and grow the economy.
  • Launched National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry
    After consulting with Canadians in a nation-wide process, the national inquiry into the disproportionate number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls confirms the Liberal government’s commitment to put an end to this national tragedy.
  • Increased Nutrition North funding
    More funding for Nutrition North will provide better support for food security to Canadian families living in isolated communities.
  • Simplified Family Immigration
    The government’s ambitious new immigration plan places an increased effort on uniting families more quickly and easily once they arrive in Canada.
  • Legalized medical assistance in dying
    Bill C-14 offers the choice to die with dignity to eligible patients who are suffering intolerably.
  • Re-opened the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base
    Three years since the Conservatives shut it down, the Kitsilano Canadian Coast Guard base in Vancouver was reopened to keep our waters safe and clean.
  • Strengthened First Nations Education
    The Liberal government is making significant investments for primary and secondary education on reserves, part of a $2.6 billion commitment to make sure that every First Nations child receives a quality education.
  • Increased Canada Student Grants
    Increasing Canada Student Grants by 50% will help more than 350,000 students achieve a more prosperous future.
  • Prime Minister’s Youth Council
    The Prime Minister’s Youth Council is an opportunity for young Canadians to provide their input on national policy, and revitalizes youth engagement in government.
  • Revitalized Canada’s international profile
    Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team have rejuvenated Canada’s presence on the world stage, re-engaging in international policy and supporting global efforts.
  • Signed Paris Climate Change Agreement
    On April 22, 2016, Canada signed an international agreement to combat climate change and work towards a better global future.
  • Senate-appointment reform
    A new efficient and non-partisan appointment system ensures that the Canadian Senate is more open and democratic.
  • A focus on training and humanitarian aid in Syria
    A new military approach toward conflict in Iraq and Syria keeps the focus on training on the ground and humanitarian aid, ultimately leading to a more effective long-term solution.
  • Enhanced Services for Veterans
    By May 2017, the Liberal government will reopen and staff 9 Veterans Affairs service offices across the country which were closed by the previous government, while also opening a new office in Surrey, B.C. and expanding outreach to veterans in the North.

Honors/ Awards

  • In 2011, Wilson-Raybould was awarded a Minerva Foundation for BC Women award. In 2012, she received the distinguished alumni award from the University of Victoria. She has also been included in Vancouver Magazine’s “Power 50” (2012 and 2014). In 2015, Wilson-Raybould was selected by the Canadian Board Diversity Council as a Diversity 50 candidate, a list of Canada’s most diverse board ready candidates.
  • On April 6, 2017, Wilson-Raybould received the inaugural Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Indigenous Women in Leadership Award. The 2018 award winner was Roberta L. Jamieson, the First Nation woman in Canada to earn a law degree, and the President and CEO of Indspire.
  • Wilson-Raybould was featured in Paulina Cameron’s 2017 book Canada 150 Women: Conversations with Leaders, Champions, and Luminaries which profiles the achievements and struggles of ground-breaking female role models.
  • In 2017, Wilson-Raybould was named Policy-Maker of the Year by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. She was featured in their December 2017 edition of their magazine ‘Inside Policy’.
  • In 2018, Wilson-Raybould was recognized by Harvard Women’s Law Association as one of their 2018 International Women’s Day Honorees and provided a keynote address at their annual event.
  • MADD Canada honored Wilson-Raybould as the recipient of a 2018 Citizen of Distinction award for her outstanding efforts to strengthen Canada’s impaired driving laws, and in particular her contributions to bringing forward Bill C-46. The Citizen of Distinction Award is presented annually to individuals, groups or organizations that have made a major provincial/territorial or national contribution to the anti-impaired driving movement in Canada, leaving a lasting legacy in the areas of research, prevention and education, legal issues or victim issues.
  • On March 7, 2018, Wilson-Raybould, alongside Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), unveiled an Inuit inukshuk which had been donated to the ICC by the Government of Canada to mark Canada’s support for the ICC. The unveiling took place at the ICC’s premises in The Hague.