Toronto Sun’s exposé, not so much

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Overexposure probably explains why no other media outlet even bothered to cover the Sun front-page story. There was no exposé.

By Sheila Copps
First published in The Hill Times on May 27, 2019.

OTTAWA—Warren Kinsella was granted an exclusive interview last week with former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould who promised to spill all, once she had permission from a new prime minister to speak.

The “exclusive” Toronto Sun headline screamed, “SHE’LL TELL ALL.” But in the article there was nothing to tell.

According to Kinsella, that can only happen by defeating Justin Trudeau. The story claims that Wilson-Raybould wants to “lift the veil” on what really goes on in Ottawa “when, say, a Prime Minister Andrew Scheer gives her the legal green light to do so.”

So now the former attorney general is promoting a Liberal government defeat so she can tell her story.

Just a few weeks ago, the same former minister said publicly that she still wanted to run for the Liberals in the election because her values on most issues best aligned with those of that party.

When the Wilson-Raybould story was boiling over, I was accused of racism and sexism for criticizing Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister. I received death threats, and multiple verbal attacks on Twitter for writing that the only person Wilson-Raybould was helping in her drip-drip-drip of allegations was Scheer.

And now Wilson-Raybould is on the front page of the Toronto Sun promoting a change of prime minister to “say, Prime Minister Andrew Scheer,” according to Kinsella.

Wilson-Raybould says she has made Indigenous reconciliation the focal point of her political beliefs.

It looks like she’s more interested in her own career story than in supporting the most progressive prime minister on Indigenous issues.

Multiple experts, including parliamentary lawyers, have stated there is absolutely nothing preventing the former minister from speaking her truth. In any case, solicitor-client privilege ended the day she left the Justice Department. There are no limits on what happened after that.

Her story has been more than fully aired, domestically and internationally. Her allegations could end up dooming the government.

But overexposure probably explains why no other media outlet even bothered to cover the Sun front-page story. There was no exposé.

The interview did, however, cast doubt on more than Wilson-Raybould’s motivations.

We know she is bitter.

Kinsella has been on a rant against Trudeau for years. And his alliance with Wilson-Raybould has given oxygen to his battle.

And her story has changed so many times.

She said the Veterans Affairs posting was not a demotion.

She said she believed almost all of the same things as the prime minister, and their shared vision was why she wanted to stay inside the Liberal caucus.

She said her real reason for entering partisan politics was to help Indigenous peoples yet she refused an opportunity to take the lead as minister responsible for Indigenous services.

She now believes that her most important political mandate is getting her story out.

When a politician makes the front page, it is usually because they have something newsworthy to say.

Sheila Copps is a former Jean Chrétien-era cabinet minister and a former deputy prime minister. Follow her on Twitter at @Sheila_Copps.

Not last week.