Interim Green Party leader hoping to court Wilson-Raybould for top job

Green Party interim leader Jo-Ann Roberts has started to outline ideas for the party’s post-Elizabeth May future — and she’s mulling over the idea of former Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould taking the helm.

“I’d like to have a conversation with her [to] see what her vision is, what does she see going forward,” Roberts told host Chris Hall in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House airing Saturday.

When asked whether Wilson-Raybould, now an Independent MP, might be willing to replace May as party leader, Roberts said it’s “possible.”

“Elizabeth asked her once before, and I think because they’ll be working together quite closely in the House, I’d be very surprised if Elizabeth is not doing the recruiting,” Roberts told Hall.

May announced Monday that she would be stepping down as leader of the Greens after more than 13 years on the job.

Roberts — who was appointed as interim leader earlier this week — said the Greens have yet to approach Wilson-Raybould about running for the leadership, but added there are other potential candidates to whom she’s already reached out.

“I’ve spoken to a few other people in the country who aren’t currently on the radar and I’m going to let them stay that way for a short period of time,” she said. “I may pull back that curtain soon.”

After securing the best-ever seat result for her party, Elizabeth May is stepping down as leader of the Greens. Now the interim leader has been tasked with organizing a leadership race while May and her counterparts keep things running in the House of Commons. Jo-Ann Roberts sits down with The House to talk about what’s next for the party. 5:51

May a longtime Wilson-Raybould supporter

Earlier this year, Wilson-Raybould, and fellow ousted Liberal cabinet minister Jane Philpott, chose to enter the federal election as Independents following speculation that they might run under the Green banner.

“I make no bones about the fact that I would love that,” May previously told The House, regarding the prospect of Philpott and Wilson-Raybould as Green candidates.

May had several conversations with the pair — and even offered to step aside from the leadership if Wilson-Raybould expressed an interest in taking on the job.

Elizabeth May, Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould embrace at a Vancouver rally on Sept. 18, 2019. (Jennifer Gauthier/REUTERS)

Back in September, May also attended a Vancouver rally for both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, a move that made some question May’s support for her own candidate in Vancouver Granville.

Wilson-Raybould successfully defended her seat in Vancouver Granville last month, while Philpott lost her seat in the Ontario riding of Markham-Stouffville to the Liberals’ Helena Jaczek.

‘We do want diversity’

Roberts said she is looking for someone who can share the party’s climate change vision and bring something new to the table.

“We’re looking for new voices and that voice can be young or older, but we do want diversity,” she said. “We want someone to come in who has a perspective on life that may be different than what we’ve had to date.”

Roberts remained tight-lipped on whether she’s been pulling other prospects from inside or outside the party.

The interim leader noted that a number of high-profile Green candidates lost during the federal election, a pool that could prove fertile ground for a permanent leader.

“There were some strong candidates who we now will go back to and say, ‘Hey, have you got other plans?'” Roberts said.

The Green Party will hold its leadership convention Oct. 4, 2020 in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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