May 31, 2019 2:07 pm
Updated: May 31, 2019 2:08 pm

Roy Green: Independent MP? Not in Jody Wilson-Raybould’s long-term future

Vancouver-Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould talks to Global BC's Sonia Sunger about her decision to run as an independent in the next federal election.


Will the voters of Vancouver-Granville follow the lead of the good burghers of Ontario’s York-South Weston?

This Sunday will mark exactly 22 years since the Ontario constituency rebuked incumbent prime minister Jean Chretien and instead of sending the official Liberal Party candidate Judy Sgro to Ottawa as Member of Parliament, returned one John Nunziata, a Liberal turned Independent.

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It wasn’t even close. Nunziata, drummed out of the Liberal Party in 1996 after voting against the government’s budget in a very public protest over the breaking of the ’93 election promise to abolish the Goods and Services Tax, still resonated with his York-South Weston constituents so much that he beat the official Liberal choice by more than 4,000 votes. (Sgro would later make it to Parliament in 1999 and remains an MP).

Nunziata had confronted Chretien in the public square and won.

READ MORE: Wilson-Raybould, Philpott to run as Independents in the fall election

In fact, the 1997 federal election campaign featured Canadians in an ornery mood and saw the Liberals under Chretien plummet from their massive 1993 triumph to retaining majority government status by a mere four seats. Chretien himself had to battle hard to retain his Shawinigan riding in Quebec.

Starting to sound familiar?

Jody Wilson-Raybould, now an Independent MP, continues to engage Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the national arena guaranteeing that while the dust may have temporarily settled somewhat on the issue of PMO interference with Canada’s justice system, a major storm on the matter is guaranteed and gathering strength.

It was Nunziata’s bad luck Chretien was returned with a majority in 1997 because by the next election in 2000, voters in York-South Weston had returned to the comfort zone of voting political party and Nunziata returned to private life.

WATCH BELOW: How Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott would operate if elected as Independents

Assuming Wilson-Raybould mirrors Nunziata’s initial success running as an Independent, not something to bet against, her political future will then hinge on whether Trudeau is able to return the Liberals to national majority government power. If so, Wilson-Raybould’s presence will be restricted to Ottawa’s political gulag. She will either sit solo or find a way to hook up with the Greens, still not making much of an impression on their likely tiny caucus.

Or, perhaps as a powerful and determined woman, Wilson-Raybould would within a year or two bid farewell to federal political life.

READ MORE: Independent federal candidates have rarely succeeded in Canada

However, and this is a big “however,” should Trudeau stumble badly on Oct. 21 and the Liberals wobble to minority government status, or as currently appears more likely, be returned to the opposition party benches, that will quickly result in the vacating of the position of party leader.

You may then count on Wilson-Raybould to be invited back into the Liberal fold to enter the race to replace Trudeau.

No, indeed, life as an Independent Member of Parliament is most definitely not the long-term political objective of Wilson-Raybould.

Surely, that takes very few by surprise.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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