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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This woman is one of two people the Agassiz RCMP are asking for assistance in identifying after a string of alleged thefts in Popkum. (Agassiz RCMP)
Agassiz RCMP ask for help to identify suspects in Popkum thefts

Images of the two suspects were captured on surveillance footage between Jan. 10 and 16

Only students who are attending in-person classes will be asked to take the Foundation Skills Assessment this year in the Fraser Cascade School District. (Unsplash)
Foundation Skills Assessment only for in-person learners: SD78

The provincial assessment will take place between Feb. 15 and March 12 for grades 4 and 7

Abbotsford’s Tradex has been transformed into a volleyball and basketball facility with Open Court. (Instagram photo)
Abbotsford’s Tradex transforms into sports facility

Open Court program hosting volleyball and basketball teams for practices and possibly games

Map of COVID-19 cases for Jan. 10 to 16 by local health area. (BCCDC)
Agassiz, Harrison COVID-19 cases heading back towards weekly normal

The area saw 10 new cases between Jan. 10 and 16, after a one week high of 19

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Most Read