Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott to Run as “Truly Free” Independents in Fall Election

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Jody-Wilson Raybould and Jane Philpott announced on Monday they will be running as independents in the fall election. (Photo: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

Former federal Liberal cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have decided to run as independent candidates in the upcoming federal election, following a tense few months that saw the two ministers quit cabinet and be removed from caucus over the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

The two MPs made the co-ordinated announcement in their respective ridings on Monday. Wilson-Raybould, the former minister of justice and attorney-general, was in Vancouver-Granville, while Ms. Philpott, former health minister and Treasury Board President, was in her Toronto-area riding of Markham-Stouffville.

The pair said they had discussions with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and had seriously considered joining the Greens, who recently elected a second federal MP. Their decision to go it alone will come as a blow to the Greens and NDP, both of whom could have used high-profile names.

But after consideration, the two said they decided to run as independents because they didn’t feel tied to any party and believed it was the best way to change the political culture in Ottawa.

Wilson Raybould explained that running independently would mean she would be “truly free” and said she would work with like-minded parties on issues like the environment. She also alluded to her falling out with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin file, making reference to the current government’s lack of transparency.

“In this reality, there is less room for overt partisanship in our evolving democracy,” she said. “Rising to these challenges requires Ottawa to operate more openly and transparently in the spirit of non-partisanship with increased co-operation.”

Philpott told a gathering in her own riding that her constituents urged her to continue in federal politics and that stepping down now would send the wrong message to young women.

“We need political will and who better to build political will than independent voices who aren’t afraid of anybody?” she said.

Philpott also mentioned the freedom that running independently would offer and spoke more directly about her issues with the SNC-Lavalin affair.

“There are no longer corporate lobbyists that are influencing the direction that I would go,” she said. “The only people that are the boss of me right now are you.”