Justin Trudeau - Not a Real Feminist NFT
You might have heard that Canada was having an election. Eighteen months after securing a minority government, Justin Trudeau called for another election in the midst of a global pandemic. His gamble to secure more power, however, may not pay off as expected, as it has become clear that Justin Trudeau has been having a hard time on the campaign trail. Protesters, who have become frustrated at the Prime Minister for a range of reasons have followed him everywhere.
It was not long ago that Trudeau stepped on the scene waving his feminist card, promising electoral reform to replace the first past the post system with a representational one, Instead, he now seeks to capitalize on it by calling an unnecessary snap election. It was not long ago that Trudeau promised to get serious on the environment and climate change before purchasing a pipeline and staying largely silent on the logging of the last few percent of remaining old-growth forests of Canada. It was not long ago that he promised better relations with the indigenous before taking indigenous kids to court and having the RCMP violently treat those protecting their unceded lands, such as the arrests at Fairy Creek, which under his watch has become Canada’s largest act of civil disobedience.
In the face of all of these scandals, the one which may be costliest in the aftermath of the SNC Lavalin may ultimately revoke Justin Trudeau’s feminist card, and puts his reelection bid in serious jeopardy.
During the Leaders debate, Green Party leader, Annamie Paul, the only female party leader running in the elections, proclaimed that Justin Trudeau was “not a real feminist”. She proceeded to list the names of Jane Philpott, Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Celina Caesar Chavannes. Strong women who had been silenced, dismissed, and/or tokenized in their capacity by the Prime Minister. The moment stood out as an iconic moment in Canadian political history, a female person of color calling out the Prime Minister as a fake feminist while reigniting attention to his most salacious scandal, the SNC Lavalin case.
The charges stem from a May 2011 investigation when Swiss authorities began looking into Riadh Ben Aissa, a VP at SNC on suspicion of corruption, fraud, and money laundering in North Africa. By March 2012, both Ben Aissa and SNC CEO Pierre Duhaime had resigned as it turned out that the latter had signed off on $56m in payments to undisclosed agents. By April 2012, the Canadian RCMP had raided the SNC Lavalin office seeking evidence of bribery and corruption including SNC employees attempting to smuggle Moammar Gadhafi’s son to Mexico as the Libyan regime collapsed in 2011. In a bid to secure lucrative contracts including the construction of a secure prison, SNC Lavalin executives are accused of indulging Gadhafi’s son Saadi to yacht charters and prostitutes. During a 2008 visit to Canada, SNC spent nearly $2m on liquor, sexual services, hotel rooms, security detail, as well as tickets to the Toronto Raptors and to the Spice Girls concert to gain favor from the Gadhafi family.
At the same time as all of this was happening, SNC senior officials were being accused of bribery, fraud, and corruption in the case of a bridge contract in Bangladesh as well as the McGill University Health Centre, one of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects, a contract valued at $1.3b. SNC Lavalin was found guilty of paying bribes and misrepresenting contracts in Bangladesh and was subsequently banned for 10 years from bidding on World Bank-funded projects.
By October 2014, the Swiss court accepted a guilty plea from Ben Aissa and is sentenced to three years in prison. In February 2015, the Canadian RCMP announced that it was laying charges against SNC Lavalin, stemming from its business dealings in Libya. Shortly after this, on October 19th, 2015, Justin Trudeau was elected to a government majority, riding an “anything but conservative” anything but Harper wave.
So how do Jane Philpott, Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Celina Caesar Chavannes fit in all of this? And why an NFT?
On the evening of September 9th, 2021 in Ottawa, as the leaders went head-to-head, Annamie Paul, only the second female party leader in the last 18 years, uttered the iconic words, “I will say it again, I do not believe that Justin Trudeau is a real feminist.”
“When Annamie dropped that line, I meowed so hard. I couldn’t believe it. After she name-dropped Celina, Jane and Jody, my jaw was on the floor. I turned it into a meme moment to share with friends, they loled. Turns out they didn’t know much about the SNC Lavalin scandal, so I made another video explaining the case. Instead of sharing it with them on youtube, I decided to mint it on the blockchain to make sure that this moment of Canadian history lives on forever.”
The “Trudeau is Not a Feminist” NFT is a three-piece set by Kitty of Politikats. It tells the story of the SNC Lavalin and features video from the leader debate and the iconic “not a real feminist” moment, a clip from the infamous Jody Wilson-Raybould Michael Wernick, as well as a copy of Justin Trudeau’s now revoked feminist card. The NFT’s feature appearances from Michael Wernick and Gerry Butts, two of Justin Trudeau’s closest confidants who were forced to resign in the wake of this scandal.
So who are Jody Wilson-Raybould, Janet Philpott, and Celina Caesar-Chavannes and what do they have to do with revoking Justin Trudeau’s feminist card?
Shortly after getting elected, Justin Trudeau’s government began getting lobbied intensively by SNC Lavalin who was seeking to change the Canadian Criminal Code to include “remediation agreements”, known as deferred prosecution agreements. SNC Lavalin was seeking to avoid a trial, as a guilty verdict would prohibit them from bidding on Canadian contracts for 10 years. Two years and over 50 registered lobbying meetings later, SNC Lavalin got their wish, and in June 2018, remediation agreements were entered into Canadian law.
This is where Jody Wilson-Raybould, an indigenous MP for Vancouver who Justin Trudeau had appointed in 2015 as Justice Minister and Attorney General in his infamous 50/50 gender-balanced cabinet and Prime Minister Trudeau begin to butt heads. In her capacity as Justice Minister, it was Jody Wilson-Raybould’s sole decision to make on whether the newly created deferred prosecution agreement should be applied retroactively to the 2001 Libya fraud charges, when it became clear that her decision was no, Justin Trudeau shuffled her to a new position as minister of veteran affairs. Justin was concerned about losing jobs in his home province of Québec. In solidarity with how the situation was handled, Jane Philpott resigned from her position. After stating that both parties had experienced events differently, Jody Wilson-Raybould dropped a secretly recorded call between herself and privy council, Michael Wernick. Shortly later, on April 2, 2019, Justin Trudeau would remove both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott out of the Liberal caucus. On August 14, 2019, the federal ethics watchdog stated that Prime Minister Justin Trudea and his team, including closest advisors Gerry Butts and Michael Wernick had violated the conflict of interest act by improperly pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC Lavalin. On December 18, 2019, under a new attorney general, SNC Lavalin pled guilty to one charge of fraud under the deferred prosecution agreement and was sentenced to a $280m fine, payable over five years.
The set of three NFTs are not for sale but can be viewed at the links below.
Feminist card revoked:
Inspired by art and our global leaders, Politikats is here to help get your kitty’s claws into our most “beloved” politicians. Our satirical cat-scratching poles protests against regimes and governments which deny their citizens the right to an open and free Internet, censorship, consistent destruction of the environment at the detriment of future generations, corruption, and the disregard of human rights. We hope to bring attention to the flaws of our current systems of governance and hold our leaders accountable in a different and fun way.
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