Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Jati Sidhu apologized in the House of Commons Thursday. Image via CPAC

UPDATE: Abbotsford-area MP apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ comments

Jati Sidhu had suggested that Jody Wilson-Raybould’s father was ‘pulling the strings’

Abbotsford-area MP Jati Sidhu apologized in the House of Commons Thursday just hours after he told The News that the former attorney general wasn’t “a team player” and that her father may be “pulling the strings.”

In an interview with The News Thursday morning, Sidhu had dismissed Wednesday’s explosive testimony by Jody Wilson-Raybould as “sour grapes,” and said her discomfort with what she described as political interference in a legal decision was the result of a lack of experience.

Sidhu’s comments had drawn criticism from political opponents and observers from across the country, with both NDP and Conservative MPs calling them “misogynistic.” Less than three hours after speaking to The News, Sidhu apologized for his comments as Question Period drew to a close.

Wilson-Raybould had testified for more than four hours on Wednesday at the parliamentary justice committee. She said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his staff had repeatedly pressured her to allow a major Quebec engineering company to avoid criminal prosecution for alleged bribes distributed in Libya. And she said Trudeau and his staff repeatedly insinuated that not allowing SNC-Lavalin to escape criminal prosecution could have negative political consequences for the Liberals.

The testimony was seen as a major blow to the Liberals and prompted Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to call for Trudeau’s resignation.

RELATED: Wilson-Raybould says she got veiled threats on SNC-Lavalin

RELATED: Wilson-Raybould’s place in Liberal party at risk after SNC-Lavalin testimony

Wilson-Raybould, meanwhile, was hailed as a “truth teller” for testifying.

But Sidhu, the first-term Liberal MP representing the sprawling Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding, said he didn’t find Wilson-Raybould’s words to be alarming. Sidhu said the discussions about prosecuting SNC-Lavalin were “normal.”

“It’s a discussion: they do it every day, every time,” he said.

Sidhu repeatedly said that if Wilson-Raybould was unhappy, she should have resigned immediately. He chalked up her discomfort to “a lack of experience,” and said she’s not “a team player.”

“The way she’s acting, I think she couldn’t handle the stress,” he said. “I think there’s somebody else behind – maybe her father – pulling the strings.”

Wilson-Raybould’s father is a hereditary chief who took a prominent role in constitutional talks with Pierre Trudeau in the 1980s.

Asked why people should believe that he is not just repeating the party line on the matter, Sidhu said, “The Prime Minister is not telling his caucus what to say or what to do.”

Like Sidhu, Wilson-Raybould is serving her first term in Parliament. Before becoming an MP, she was a prosecutor in Vancouver and a regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.

She said Wednesday that her experience as a prosecutor and as a First Nations leader who had seen the government break the law in the past had influenced her decisions as attorney general.

“I came to it with a deeply-ingrained commitment to the rule of law and the importance of acting independently of partisan, political and narrow interests in all matters,” she said. “I will conclude by saying this: I was taught to always be careful what you say because you cannot take it back.”

As Question Period concluded Thursday afternoon in Ottawa, Sidhu rose to formally apologize to Wilson-Raybould for what he said were “inappropriate comments.”

Just last week, Trudeau apologized for not immediately condemning personal attacks on his former attorney general by unnamed sources.

Brad Vis, the Conservative candidate in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, called on Sidhu to issue an apology. In a tweet, he said Sidhu “is a misogynist who doesn’t respect the rule of law.”

In a subsequent email, Vis wrote: “I am absolutely appalled at MP Sidhu for his dismissive and misogynistic remarks regarding the former attorney general. Unfortunately, Jati seems incapable of understanding that issues like our respect for the rule of law must always transcend political partisanship.”

“To suggest it’s the former Attorney General’s father pulling her strings, and that she can’t handle stress is not just inappropriate, it’s sexist, and beneath the office to which MP Sidhu holds.”


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Housing concerns prompt decline in Fraser Cascade’s student enrolment

This year saw lower than projected enrolment, likely because of families moving out of the district

‘Re-emerging’ artist takes on Harrison’s Ranger Station residency

Painter Ava P. Christl will be the gallery’s newest artist in residence

Kent wastewater plant gets $7,500 grant for improvement study

The district will be looking at modifications to its digester system

Fantasy Farms told to stop holding special events on farmland that go against agricultural rules

The Morans say it might spell the end of their seasonal events like Reapers Haunted Attractions

New event invites Agassiz to meet museum’s resident ghost

The Haunted Museum Tour will take place on Oct. 26 and 30

VIDEO: Agassiz lights candles in memory of missing, murdered Indigenous women

The Sisters in Spirit vigil took place at the Agassiz United Church

Man who orchestrated Mission murders gets day parole after serving less than three years

Victims’ parents express grief, outrage over parole board decision

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read