British Columbia

In Wilson-Raybould's Vancouver riding, shock and support for ousted MP

As Jody Wilson-Raybould was ousted from Trudeau's Liberal caucus on Tuesday, residents of the Vancouver Granville riding basked in an uncharacteristically sunny April day and reacted that their MP, a former star cabinet minister, would will now be sitting in the back corner as an independent.

Some Vancouver Granville residents say they'll continue to support former cabinet minister as independent

Jody Wilson-Raybould's constituency office in Vancouver Granville riding. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

As Jody Wilson-Raybould was ousted from Trudeau's Liberal caucus on Tuesday, residents of her Vancouver Granville riding basked in an uncharacteristically sunny April day and reacted to the news that their MP, a former star cabinet minister, would now be sitting in the back corner as an independent.

Trudeau delivered the news to the national Liberal caucus himself, saying Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott could not stay on because they could not express confidence in the caucus.

But as Vancouver Granville residents expressed their shock at yet another twist in the scandal — which has dogged the Liberal party since February — many of those whom CBC spoke to on the streets of the riding Tuesday said they'd stand by their MP.

Melinda Sam, who lives in the riding, said she would support Wilson-Raybould if she runs in the upcoming election because she represents an impartial voice.

"I'd definitely vote for her. I've been very impressed with her. She's a woman of honesty," she told CBC News.

"Integrity is missing in politics and for someone to stand up for what she believes in takes a lot of guts."

Melinda Sam, who lives in Vancouver Granville, said she'd continue to support Wilson-Raybould because she is a 'woman of honesty.' (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Hyedie Hashimoto said she "unfortunately" doesn't live in the riding but that if she did, Wilson-Raybould would have her vote. She said she found the news that she had been ejected from caucus "shocking."

"I think she has a lot of Canadian support for being so forthcoming and honest," she said.

"I'm a big fan. I don't think it's a good move on [Trudeau's] part ... he has a tough road ahead this upcoming election."

Not everyone agrees. A man who did not give his name but described himself as a businessman told CBC that in business and politics, integrity and morality can't always come first.

"In politics you need to work together to solve problems. And if you can't do that in any capacity, you should leave," he said.

Wilson-Raybould said late on Monday that she wanted to remain in the Liberal caucus and saw no reason why she should be expelled.

But in his Tuesday press conference Trudeau said that trust had been irrevocably broken, calling Wilson-Raybould's decision to secretly tape a conversation with the clerk of the privy council "unconscionable."

Shortly before the news broke, Wilson-Raybould tweeted that she had "no regrets."

"What I can say is that I hold my head high & that I can look myself in the mirror knowing I did what I was required to do and what needed to be done based on principles & values that must always transcend party," she wrote.

Riding was 'signature win' for Liberals

Hamish Telford, an associate professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley, said the loss of Wilson-Raybould as a representative in Vancouver Granville will be costly to the Liberals, because the riding was a "signature win" for the party back in 2015.

"It's going to be enormously difficult to replace her, and the Liberals are going to have their work cut out to hold that riding," he said.

Telford said Wilson-Raybould has a fighting chance to hold the riding as an independent.

Hyedie Hashimoto said that if she lived in Wilson-Raybould's riding, she would vote for her as an independent. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

"It's very difficult to win an election in our election system as an independent — but when one is a member of parliament, has good standing in the community, those are the sorts of situation where we see members succeeding," he said. 

He cited the case of John Nunziata in Ontario, who voted against Chretien's budget in the mid-1990s, then went on to be elected as an independent.

Although Trudeau has failed to shake the shadow of the scandal for the past two months, Telford said, it's still a long road to the federal election in the fall.

"Come the fall, they're not just voting on the handling of this issue but the handling of government, as well as his comparison to the others," Telford said.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story mistakenly said that Jody Wilson-Raybould secretly taped a conversation with Justin Trudeau's chief of staff. In fact, the recording was of a phone call with the clerk of the privy council.
    Apr 03, 2019 11:11 AM PT

About the Author

Michelle Ghoussoub

@MichelleGhsoub

Michelle Ghoussoub is a journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. She has previously reported in Lebanon and Chile. Reach her at michelle.ghoussoub@cbc.ca or on Twitter @MichelleGhsoub.

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