Wilson-Raybould could have effected change in Indigenous Services: leaders

The vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says she would have welcomed the presence of Jody Wilson-Raybould as minister of Indigenous Services.

Heather Bear says she wonders if it would have been wise for the former minister to occupy this role in cabinet to help find solutions to problems Indigenous people face.

Wilson-Raybould was Canada's first Indigenous minister of justice.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's former principal secretary Gerald Butts told the House of Commons justice committee that Wilson-Raybould was offered the Indigenous-services portfolio in January and rejected it because as a lifelong critic of the Indian Act, she didn't want to be the person administering it.

Butts said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau couldn't have a minister vetoing her own reassignment so Wilson-Raybould ended up as veterans-affairs minister instead, before resigning a month later amid the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Manitoba Metis Federation President David Chartrand says it was ``amazing'' for Wilson-Raybould to be offered the opportunity as an Indigenous person, adding she would have brought valuable experience to the table including from her time as the B.C. regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations.