Jody Wilson-Raybould

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The Honourable
Jody Wilson-Raybould
Jody Wilson-Raybould (cropped).jpg
51st Minister of Justice
Attorney General of Canada
Assumed office
November 4, 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Preceded by Peter MacKay
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Vancouver Granville
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded by Constituency established
Personal details
Born (1971-03-23) March 23, 1971 (age 47)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Tim Raybould
Alma mater University of Victoria
University of British Columbia

Jody Wilson-Raybould PC QC MP (born March 23, 1971) is a Kwakwaka’wakw Canadian politician and the Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Vancouver Granville. She was sworn in as Minister of Justice of Canada on November 4, 2015. Before entering Canadian federal politics, she was a Crown Prosecutor for British Columbia, a Treaty Commissioner and Regional Chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.

Early life and education[edit]

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 means “woman born to noble people.”

Wilson-Raybould is the daughter of Bill Wilson, a First Nations politician and graduate of University of British Columbia Faculty of Law, and Sandra Wilson, a teacher.[1] On Canadian national television in 1983, Wilson-Rayboud's father informed then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau that his two daughters hoped to become lawyers and then Prime Minister some day.[2][3] Born at Vancouver General Hospital, she was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and later Comox, British Columbia graduating from École Highland Secondary School.[4]

Wilson-Raybould completed her bachelor of arts degree in political science and history at the University of Victoria. She then earned a law degree from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. She married Dr. Tim Raybould on November 29, 2008.[5]


Wilson-Raybould comes from a long line of community activists, including her grandmother Ethel Pearson (Pugladee) and father Bill Wilson (Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla).[6][7] She has championed the environment and social justice, the rights of indigenous peoples, and the rebuilding of strong and appropriate indigenous governments within Canada.[8][9][10] She continues to advocate for democratic reform generally and a more inclusive Canada.


Crown Prosecutor (2000 - 2003)[edit]

Wilson-Raybould is a lawyer by profession and was called to the bar in 2000 after Articling at the downtown Vancouver law firm of Connell Lightbody. She was a provincial Crown prosecutor in Vancouver’s Main Street criminal courthouse in the Downtown Eastside for four years (2000-2003).[11]

B.C. Treaty Commission[edit]

In 2003, she took a position as a process advisor at the B.C. Treaty Commission, a body established to oversee the negotiations of modern treaties between First Nations and the Crown. She was quickly elected a commissioner by the chiefs of the First Nations Summit in 2004. She served as commissioner for nearly seven years, one and a half of which she spent as the acting chief commissioner. As a Commissioner, she helped to advance a number of treaty tables, including Tsawwassen First Nation, which became the first in B.C. to achieve a treaty under the BC Treaty Process.[12] Wilson-Raybould also helped the establishment of a ‘Common Table’ of 60 plus First Nations and the Crown.[13]

We Wai Kai Council[edit]

Wilson-Raybould was elected to council for the We Wai Kai Nation in January 2009, a role that she credits for strengthening her understanding and commitment to work at the provincial and national level advocating for strong and appropriate First Nations’ governance.[14] As a councillor for We Wai Kai she was instrumental in helping her community develop a Land Code and to move out from under the Indian Act. As a result of this work she was appointed as her Nation’s representative to the national First Nations Lands Advisory Board (LAB), and was subsequently elected from among her peers to sit as a Board Member for the LAB as well as a member of the Finance Committee.[15]

As councillor for We Wai Kai Nation, Wilson-Raybould was also central to We Wai Kai developing a financial administration law (establishing a transparency and accountability through a regulatory framework for establishing budgets and controlling expenditures), assuming property taxation powers under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act[16] and becoming a Borrowing Member of the First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA). Wilson-Raybould was appointed the We Wai Kai representative to the FNFA. The Borrowing Members of the FNFA elected Wilson-Raybould as the Chair in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The FNFA is a not-for-profit that pools the public borrowing requirements of qualifying First Nations and issues bonds on the strength of a central credit (A3). Under Wilson-Raybould’s chair, the FNFA issued its inaugural debenture in 2014 in the amount $96 million. This issue was reopened in 2015 adding an additional $50 million.[17]

B.C. Assembly of First Nations[edit]

Wilson-Raybould was first elected regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations in 2009. The regional chief is elected by the 203 First Nations in B.C.[18] She is credited with bringing the chiefs together reflected in her being re-elected regional chief in November 2012 winning on the first ballot with just shy of 80% of the vote.[19]

As regional chief, Wilson-Raybould concentrated on the need for nation building, good governance, and empowering indigenous peoples to take the practical steps necessary to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to realize the promise of the recognition of aboriginal and treaty rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Accordingly, in her role as regional chief, she focused on reconciliation between First Nations and the province of BC and Canada by advancing 1) the cause of First Nations’ strong and appropriate governance, 2) fair access to lands and resources, 3) improved education and 4) individual health. In 2011 and 2012, Wilson-Raybould co-authored the BCAFN Governance Toolkit: A Guide to Nation Building. Part 1 of the Governance Toolkit - The Governance Report, which has been acclaimed as the most comprehensive report of its kind in Canada, setting out what First Nations in B.C. are doing with respect to transitioning their governance from under the Indian Act to a post-colonial world based on recognition of aboriginal title and rights.[20] In 2012, Wilson-Raybould and the BCAFN launched Part 2 of the Governance Toolkit - The Governance Self-Assessment and Part 3 - Guide to Community Engagement: Navigating Our Way Beyond the Post-Colonial Door. In 2014, a second edition of The Governance Report was released.[21] In 2015, Wilson-Raybould and the BCAFN released A User’s Guide to the BCAFN Governance Toolkit: Supporting Leaders of Change.

Wilson-Raybould held portfolio responsibilities on the Assembly of First Nations national executive for governance and nation building, the Chiefs Committee on Claims (including additions to reserve and specific claims) and chaired the comprehensive claims joint working group. During her first terms as regional chief, Wilson-Raybould worked with friends in the Senate to introduce Bill S-212, the First Nations Self-Government Recognition Act.[22] This public bill would have provided a mechanism for First Nations to be recognized by the federal government as “self-governing” following the development of an internal constitution and after a community ratification vote on a self-government proposal. The bill died on the order paper.

Wilson-Raybould participated in the 2012 Crown-First Nations Gathering delivering a strong message on the need to resolve First Nations issues including the need for governance reform and moving beyond the Indian Act to support a strong economy.[23] In the wake of the Idle No More protests and despite criticism from some First Nation leaders, Wilson-Raybould participated in high-level talks with the Prime Minister. She raised the concern that very little progress had been made nationally on First Nations’ issues since the 2012 First Nations-Crown Gathering but that there are solutions.[24] Her message being that societies that govern well simply do better economically, socially and politically than those that do not. Good governance increases societies’ chances of meeting the needs of its peoples and developing sustainable long-term economic development and that First Nations are no different. She attributes the failure to make significant progress during this time as one of her motivations to run for the federal Liberals in the 2015 federal election.

Liberal Party candidacy[edit]

Following the announcement of the nomination, Isadore Day, chief of the Serpent River First Nation located in Ontario, alleged that Wilson-Raybould was in conflict of interest by continuing to act as regional chief while holding the Liberal Party nomination. Wilson-Raybould denied that her decision to run gave rise to a conflict. In response to the issue, the BC Assembly of First Nations adopted a unanimous resolution in support of Wilson-Raybould, and expressed full confidence she would be able to continue to perform her duties as regional chief while also serving as a Liberal candidate. Wilson-Raybould said she would take a leave of absence during the campaign and if a conflict did arise before then, she would resign.

Wilson-Raybould stepped down from the position of regional chief in June 2015 in accordance with the transition plan approved in September 2014[25] by consensus of the chiefs following her nomination.

Wilson-Raybould has served as a director of Capilano University.[26] As a former board member for the Minerva Foundation for BC Women (2008-2010), Wilson-Raybould was instrumental in the development of the “Combining Our Strength Initiative”[27] – a partnership of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. In addition to her duties as director of the Lands Advisory Board and Chair of the First Nations Finance Authority Wilson-Raybould has also been a director of the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre since 2013.[28]

Wilson-Raybould has spoken broadly on such topics as aboriginal law, treaties, the environment, financial transparency, good governance and reconciliation. She has made numerous presentations before parliamentary committees including the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and Northern Development. Wilson-Raybould has travelled extensively to work on indigenous peoples’ rights and leadership issues, including to the Philippines, Taiwan and Israel.

Federal politics[edit]

Nomination and candidacy[edit]

Wilson-Raybould was the co-chair of the 2014 Biennial Liberal Convention held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She secured the nomination for Vancouver Granville July 31, 2014. Wilson-Raybould is seen to be close to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau who approached her to run for the Liberals during the 2013 AFN Annual General meeting in Whitehorse.[29] Her areas of core policy concern and competence include: democratic reform; balancing the environment and the economy, Aboriginal affairs and affordable housing.[30] Wilson-Raybould visited the Great Bear Rainforest with Justin Trudeau in 2014.[31]

Minister of Justice and Attorney General (2015 - present)[edit]

Since November 4, 2015, Wilson-Raybould has been Canada's Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada.[32] In December 2016, she submitted the National Security Green Paper,[33] opening the potential to force people to decrypt their information for law enforcement, or to build in back doors into encryption protocols.

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. [34]

As Minister of Justice, Wilson-Raybould introduced C-45, the Cannabis Act. After passage by both houses of parliament in June, 2018, it enabled nationwide legalization of cannabis in October the same year.[35][36][37]

Awards and recognition[edit]

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).[38] 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.[39]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould 23,643 43.93 +13.83 $126,252.39
New Democratic Mira Oreck 14,462 26.87 +2.42 $165,255.58
Conservative Erinn Broshko 14,028 26.06 -9.31 $184,283.40
Green Michael Barkusky 1,691 3.14 -6.08 $3,885.32
Total valid votes/Expense limit 53,824 100.00   $212,795.60
Total rejected ballots 186 0.34
Turnout 54,010 68.23
Eligible voters 79,154
Liberal notional gain from Conservative Swing +11.57
Source: Elections Canada[40][41][1]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Federal-Provincial Conference of First Ministers on Aboriginal Constitutional Matters, Ottawa, Ontario (1983-03-15 - 1983-03-16)". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  3. ^ Karen Larsen (November 11, 2015). "Old Video of Pierre Trudeau and Bill Wilson Foreshadows Political Success of Kids". CBC News. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  4. ^ Farrell, Terry (November 4, 2015). "Rachel Blaney represents diversity in Parliament". Comox Valley Record. Retrieved February 5, 2016. Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, who won the Vancouver Granville seat, has North Island roots. She is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation (Cape Mudge) of Quadra Island and went to middle (Robb Road) and high school (Highland) in Comox. 
  5. ^ "Banff Centre". Banff Centre. 
  6. ^ Bulbulian, Maurice. "Dancing Around the Table, Part One". National Film Board. 
  7. ^ Bulbulian, Maurice. "Dancing Around the Table: Part Two". National Film Board. 
  8. ^ "BCAFN Governance Toolkit: A Guide to Nation Building". BCAFN. 
  9. ^ "A Guide to Nation Building" (PDF). 
  10. ^ "Assembly of First Nations" (PDF). 
  11. ^ "Jody Wilson-Raybould" (PDF). 
  12. ^ "Tsawwassen First Nation: Our Treaty". 
  13. ^ "2014 Globe Series Profiles". 
  14. ^ "BCAFN Governance Toolkit: A Guide to Nation Building". BCAFN. 
  15. ^ "Lands Advisory Board and Resource Centre". 
  16. ^ "First Nations Fiscal Management Act". 
  17. ^ "The First Nations Finance Authority Issues 106M in Loans to First Nations". 
  18. ^ "BCAFN". 
  19. ^ Bramham, Daphne (10 December 2012). "Raised to lead, Wilson-Raybould units B.C. chiefs". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "BCAFN Governance Toolkit: A Guide to Nation Building". West Vancouver: BCAFN. 2011. 
  21. ^ "BCAFN Governance Toolkit: A Guide to Nation Building". West Vancouver: BCAFN. 2014. 
  22. ^ "First Nations Self-Government Recognition Act". 
  23. ^ "YouTube". 
  24. ^ "BCAFN" (PDF). BCAFN - Regional Chief's Quarterly Report (March 1, 2013). 
  25. ^ Resolution 01/2014: Transition of Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould. BCAFN 11th Annual General Meeting. 9 September 2014. 
  26. ^ Howell, M. (October 20, 2015). "Meet Vancouver's two new Liberal MPs". Vancouver Courier. Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  27. ^ "Combining our Strength". 
  28. ^ "Museum at Cape Mudge". 
  29. ^ Kirkup, Kristy (10 July 2015). "Idle No More talks influenced former chief's decision to run for Liberals". CTV News. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  30. ^ "". 
  31. ^ "Protecting the Environment, Growing the Economy". 2014. 
  32. ^ "Full list of Justin Trudeau's cabinet". CBC News. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Canada Justice Minister and ICC President unveil artwork donation". Diplomat Magazine. March 8, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2018. 
  35. ^ Chloé Harper Gold (November 28, 2017), Canada Moves One Step Closer To Marijuana Legalization – Thanks to the overwhelming support in the House of Commons, Canada moves one step closer to marijuana legalization. 
  36. ^ Tala Salem (June 6, 2018), Canada Senate to Vote on Marijuana Legalization: Canada's Senate is expected to vote on Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, on Thursday evening, which would make Canada the first G7 nation to legalize marijuana., US News 
  37. ^ Trudeau says pot will be legal as of Oct. 17, 2018, CBC News, June 20, 2018 
  38. ^ "Vancouver Magazine". 
  39. ^ "Diversity 50 | Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC)". Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  40. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Vancouver Granville, 30 September 2015
  41. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Peter MacKay Minister of Justice