I remember the first day that the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould was announced as Justice Minister/Minister of Attorney General. I was sitting in my laws of evidence class, distracted by the news showing up on my phone. I was excited to see her, an Indigenous woman lawyer, in this role! Later that same week, I wrote an open letter asking her to consider the perspectives of Indigenous women in the sex trade and the harms that criminalization creates in their lives. The Honourable Wilson-Raybould responded to this open letter, making a commitment to listen to sex workers.
When the Honourable Wilson-Raybould announced that she was stepping down as Justice Minister/AG in early 2019, I felt sadness and frustration. Perhaps my feelings were also slightly self-centred over the fact that an Indigenous woman was no longer the chief law officer for the federal government. I enjoyed seeing a strong Indigenous woman leading the reign.
This winter, I read Jody Wilson-Raybould’s book, From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada. The book provides a closer look into some of Wilson-Raybould’s initiatives as Justice Minister/AG and a deeper insight into some of her experiences. Wilson-Raybould reflects on her speeches extending back approximately 10 years. The speeches are divided into five themes that highlight a framework to implement reconciliation to a diverse audience, from policy-makers to business owners to industry insiders.