Wilson Raybould and Philpott to run as independents in fall election


Former Liberal cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott say they will run as independents in the next federal election.

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The pair made separate but co-ordinated announcements in their ridings — Wilson-Raybould in Vancouver and Philpott outside Toronto.

Wilson Raybould told supporters she has heard an "overwhelming'' message on the need to do politics differently, adding she believes running under no political banner is the best way for her to achieve that.

"I know that it will not be easy to run a campaign as an independent,'' she said at a small community centre in her Vancouver Granville riding. "There will be challenges, but with your support, I am confident that running as an independent is the best way to ... go about it at this time and the best way to transform our political culture."

Philpott, at a farm market in Markham-Stouffville, acknowledged some will be surprised by her decision but she said running on her own is the most honest thing for her to do.

"There's probably a few of you who were wishing for something different,'' she said. "That's OK. I heard a whole range of advice.''

Wilson-Raybould served as justice minister in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet before she was shuffled to the portfolio of veterans affairs in January.

She later revealed she thought the decision to move her out of the justice role was motivated by her refusal to intervene in the criminal prosecution of the Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Philpott was health minister and then minister of Indigenous services and president of the Treasury Board before resigning over Trudeau's handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Both women were ousted from the Liberal caucus in early April and sit as independent MPs in the House of Commons.

"I will say this —  it's been a challenging five months,'' Wilson-Raybould said. "I find myself in a place that I never expected to be for, as I've said, doing my job and speaking the truth. I regret that it has come to this place.''

There were issues that could have been resolved sooner, she said, adding she has had time to reflect on her choice.

"I am really pleased and happy with the decision that I've made,'' she said.

With few resources as a legislator and none of the authority she had as a minister, Philpott said, she hasn't lost her voice — she's found it.

Both Philpott and Wilson-Raybould spoke highly of the Green party and its leader Elizabeth May, and acknowledged having repeated conversations about running for that party, but decided that Canadian politics needs more people beholden to no central authority.

— With files from Laura Kane in Vancouver and Alanna Rizza in Toronto

© Kamloops This Week


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