Despite speculation, Wilson-Raybould says she has no plans to seek Green leadership

Each week, Cross Country Checkup devotes the program’s last half hour to an interview with a high-profile newsmaker, celebrity, thinker or cultural figure who takes calls from listeners.

Despite what she calls “media rumours” and speculation, Jody Wilson-Raybould was unequivocal Sunday about her future with the federal Green Party.

“No, I’m not going to seek the leadership of the Green Party,” she told Cross Country Checkup during an Ask Me Anything segment.

Elizabeth May announced earlier this month that she would step down as Green Party leader, but stay on as an MP and the party’s parliamentary caucus leader. A new leader will be selected during the party’s convention next October, and the Green party openly talked about Wilson-Raybould.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May, left, appeared at a campaign event with Wilson-Raybould and former MP Jane Philpott in Sept. 2019. Philpott, who also ran as an independent, was not re-elected. (Jennifer Gauthier/REUTERS)

While Wilson-Raybould says that party’s platform is aligned with her own values, she touted the importance of running as an independent MP in her Vancouver-Granville riding.

“I didn’t join the Green Party … because I believe in the idea and the necessity of having more independent voices in Parliament,” she told host Duncan McCue.

Wilson-Raybould declined an opportunity to join the federal Greens in May, instead choosing to run — and securing her seat for a second mandate — as an independent candidate in October’s federal election.

During the half-hour AMA segment, Wilson-Raybould answered questions from McCue and Checkup listeners about her relationship with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the new federal cabinet, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and reconciliation.

I wouldn’t have run again to be a member of Parliament if I didn’t think I had something to contribute.– Jody Wilson-Raybould

On Trudeau and new cabinet

Responding to a question from Alan Katowitz from Vancouver, Wilson-Raybould said that she hasn’t had conversations with the prime minister or any cabinet ministers “for some time.”

Tensions between Wilson-Raybould and the Liberals rose last year when the MP was ousted from her role as justice minister and attorney general last year by Trudeau. 

In February, Wilson-Raybould testified before the House of Commons justice committee that she was pressured by the PMO to seek a deferred prosecution agreement for Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin. 

In August, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion found that Trudeau violated the conflict of interest act by trying to influence Wilson-Raybould. Trudeau took “full responsibility” following the report, but refused to apologize for the situation, saying that he was “standing up for Canadians’ jobs.”

Still, Wilson-Raybould says that as an independent she is open to talking to and working with MPs across party lines.

“I’m 100 per cent willing to do that,” she said. “I wouldn’t have run again to be a member of Parliament if I didn’t think I had something to contribute.”

WATCH: MP Jody Wilson-Raybould takes calls from Cross Country Checkup listeners

On Trans Mountain and reconciliation

Though Wilson-Raybould was part of the government that greenlit the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX), she told Checkup that “we need to deconstruct the decision,” particularly when it comes to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP.

“For the period of time that I was in government and prior to that, in various roles, Indigenous peoples have been working incredibly hard to create the space for us — for Indigenous peoples — to be self determining,” she said.

The Liberal government passed a private members bill in 2016 that aimed to implement UNDRIP recommendations into Canadian legislation. The declaration still has no effect on Canadian law, however.

In respecting Indigenous communities and recognizing rights, Wilson-Raybould says the federal government must engage in nation-to-nation discussions around TMX.

“I wish that that would have happened back in 2016 and even before that,” she said.

To hear the full interview with Jody Wilson-Raybould, download our new Ask Me Anything podcast or click Listen above.

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