Former Liberal cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, who quit the ruling party’s caucus over the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin political affair, will not run as Green Party candidates, CBC exclusively reported on Sunday and on Monday, the pair revealed they are running as Independents.
There were rumours that the pair would join up with the party, which only has two seats in the federal parliament, but has seen an upswing in polls across the country. They both spoke with leader Elizabeth May about running for the party in the October federal election.
The two high-profile ex-ministers were supported by all three opposition parties during their departure from the Liberals, but it was unclear whether they would join another party. Both have yet to confirm if they are running as independent members of parliament.
There have not been any confirmed reports that either the Conservative Party or the New Democrats have courted one or both of the parliamentarians. Polls appear to give the Tories a growing lead on the Liberals, who have fallen sharply since scandal rocked Ottawa.
The Greens have seen a national uptick in the polls and they claim momentum is growing. The party expected a win in the Prince Edward Island provincial election earlier this year, but came second place, though still making history.
In Guelph, a Green movement and thousands of votes brought Mike Schriener to Queen’s Park last June, in a move that broke with the historic domination of the Liberal Party in the city’s riding.
It is unclear yet if that will carry over and lift Green Party candidate Steve Dyck to a victory on Oct. 23 this fall, but Greens will be fighting hard to take on MP Lloyd Longfield, who won to keep Guelph Liberal, which it has been since Brenda Chamberlain won in 1993.
The impact of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott — both reputable and well-known politicians — to not join the Greens will be disappointing for Leader Elizabeth May, who could have benefited from their famous names and their closeness to the largest political affair to hit this government.
On whether he sees the two MPs not joining the Greens as a loss or missed opportunity, local Green candidate Steve Dyck told The Post on Sunday night that it was the wrong question to ask.
For Dyck, the questions should be what are Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott’s positions “on climate action, democratic reform and other key issues” and whether they match Green Party values.
Wishing them the best, Dyck said he considers the pair “courageous and strong women and right or wrong I can not question their integrity”, explaining that the stood up against the Prime Minister’s Office despite “great risk to their own careers” for what “they saw to be right”.
As for the Guelph impact, Dyck explained that the political affair around the construction firm SNC-Lavalin and the “control of our democracy by mega corporations is a significant local issue”.
Dyck is up against incumbent Longfield, People’s Party of Canada candidate Mark Paralovos and candidates to still be chosen from the Conservative Party and the New Democrats.