British Columbia

'I will continue to speak up and speak out:' Jody Wilson-Raybould on political life after the Liberals

Vancouver-Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould talks about running as an independent candidate, and what she hopes to accomplish, after being removed from the Liberal caucus.

Vancouver-Granville MP on SNC-Lavalin, Trans Mountain and running as an independent

Jody Wilson-Raybould announces on May 27 that she will be running as an independent candidate in the upcoming federal election. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

On Monday, Vancouver-Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould announced she will run in the fall federal election as an independent candidate.

The decision comes after her removal from the Liberal caucus by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the fallout from the SNC-Lavalin affair. 

The former justice minister and attorney general spoke with CBC's The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn about life after the Liberals, and what she hopes to accomplish as an independent MP.

What can you actually accomplish in Ottawa if you can beat the odds and win your seat in Vancouver-Granville as an independent?

I'm going to continue to work hard after the election to look at the way politics and decision-making happens in Ottawa. We have major issues and I think an independent voice — free from any partisan considerations — is something the country is moving toward and something I embrace.

But are independent voices actually heard in the House of Commons? 

I have had opportunity to speak in the House of Commons after becoming an independent. I've had the opportunity to work across party lines and engage with members of Parliament of all political stripes on issues coming before the House of Commons. 

I am confident I will continue to speak up and speak out on issues that are important — from climate change to democratic reform to Indigenous issues.

You singled out the Green Party as a natural ally and the party leader Elizabeth May said she was willing to step aside and let you lead the party. Did you seriously consider that offer?

I know myself and I feel that running as an independent is the right choice. I want to continue to work with the Green Party — with all parties — to ensure we find the best solutions to issues that we're facing and that those solutions aren't necessarily confined to one partisan box.

Jody Wilson Raybould at a justice committee meeting in Ottawa on Feb. 27. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press )

Would you be where you are now without the Liberal Party and without the high-profile positions you occupied in that party?

I never expected to be in the situation I'm in. I was removed from the Liberal caucus by one person and had to go through a number of months to consider what my options are, and I do believe that my experience in federal politics is not over.

When you made the decision to go public with your concerns about how the SNC-Lavalin affair was being handled, did you not anticipate consequences?

I didn't make the decision to go public. It was something that was in the Globe and Mail newspaper in February and I responded to an inordinate amount of media attention, comments made by individuals in the Liberal Party and in the Prime Minister's Office. 

I feel very comfortable with what I provided on the SNC matter. I feel comfortable with the position and the approach that I took as the attorney general in ensuring that I upheld the independence of the public prosecutor.

Do you question any of your former party's position to purchase and expand the Trans Mountain pipeline?

This is an issue of concern to the people in Vancouver-Granville and throughout the Lower Mainland, as it should be. We have to ensure we hold the government accountable around actually recognizing the jurisdiction and rights of Indigenous peoples and setting a framework where any project in the territory recognizes those rights.

I don't think that we've done or that the government has done enough.

Now that you are free to speak, are you in favour of tripling the capacity of that pipeline?

I was a part of a government that made the decision and, as I said, there are some issues that need to create a coherent approach to make the Trans Mountain pipeline viable. This is a discussion that I am going to continue to have with my constituents.

We need an approach that looks to building economic prosperity, recognizes Indigenous rights and transitions in real ways toward a green economy. I don't think we have been able to tick off all those boxes.

This interview aired on The Early Edition on May 28 and has been edited for clarity and structure.


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