JWR
Credit: Nathan Caddell

Former Liberal MP cites climate change, electoral reform as issues she is prepared to champion

“My time in federal politics isn’t over.”

Those were Jody Wilson-Raybould’s words as she took the stage at a packed Marpole Neighbourhood House in South Vancouver.

The assembled media and community members were on hand to hear the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville announce that she would be running for re-election as an independent.

It’s been a tough several months for Wilson-Raybould, who was removed from her post as justice minister and attorney general after what she called “inappropriate pressure” in a case involving Montreal-based infrastructure giant SNC-Lavalin.

Since then, she and former minister of health Jane Philpott (who resigned in support of Wilson-Raybould) were kicked out of the Liberal caucus.

There had been some murmurs about the duo’s plans for the federal election later this year on October 21. Wilson-Raybould admitted that they had talked with both NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party head Elizabeth May. But after a lengthy thought process, both will run as independent candidates.

In particular, it’s clear that the Green Party platform appealed to Wilson-Raybould.

“Climate change is the issue of our time,” she said, adding that she sees the Greens as “natural and necessary allies.”

But she rallied against the idea of partisanship and political parties in general, admitting that she is “not a party person” and “wonders what more could have been accomplished [by the Liberal government] in a less-partisan environment.”

“I’m going to be independent in the true sense of the world and will not be afraid to speak up and to speak the truth,” said Wilson-Raybould.

She also called the idea of proportional representation—which the Liberal government abandoned shortly after campaigning on electoral reform—“absolutely worth considering.” And added, “a lot of people in our riding were very disappointed about not going forward with democratic reform.”

Whether or not she has a chance in the riding as an independent is another matter altogether. Vancouver Granville is a massive riding that extends from Southwest Marine Drive in the south all the way down to West 2nd Avenue.

Then again, her story has been front and centre in Canadian politics for most of 2019.

As Wilson-Raybould herself put it: “I believe everything happens for a reason.”