Green party leader Elizabeth May says she’s disappointed that ousted Liberal cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott rejected her offer to run for the Green party, even after she said they could take over its leadership.
May, who is 64 years old and has been leading the Greens since 2006, told CTV’s Power Play that she offered to step aside as leader in her “very first conversation” with the two women but they told her they were not interested.
“I honestly think they’ve made a mistake,” May said.
“I hope they get re-elected as independents,” she added.
Philpott, who served as President of the Treasury Board in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, and Wilson-Raybould, who was justice minister and attorney general, both announced their intentions to run as independents on Monday in much-anticipated speeches.
Philpott told CTV’s Power Play in an interview Monday from her riding just north of Toronto that she had “several conversations” with May but “felt in (her) heart of hearts” that she could not “100 per cent” say that she is a Green member.
“I am in a point where I want to move beyond party politics,” Philpott said.
“I do hear from people that they are tired of hyper-partisanship,” she added. “They want to see politics done differently, and my focus right now is on the people of Markham-Stouffville.”
Philpott said she will work with people from all parties, including the Greens, particularly on the conversation around climate change. “Anybody who leads this country needs to make sure the ideas of Elizabeth May and the Green party are part of that,” she said.
Speaking from her Vancouver—Granville constituency, Wilson-Raybould told Power Play that she “seriously considered the Green party, and had conversations with other leaders as well,” but decided she wasn’t prepared to try to “fit” herself into any party.
“That’s not to say that I don’t see the Green party as a natural ally because I do, particularly around issues of climate change and the environment and innovation,” she said.
May would not say whether the Greens will run candidates against the two former Liberals, pointing out that the party’s constitution says they must run in all 338 ridings.
“It largely will be a decision that starts with the local Greens in those ridings,” she said.
The Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats have all confirmed to CTV News that they will run candidates in the two ridings.
Philpott and Wilson-Raybould were removed from the Liberal caucus on April 2, more than a month after Wilson-Raybould testified to the justice committee that she faced pressure from senior Liberals including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene in the criminal prosecution of Montreal-based construction giant SNC-Lavalin. Trudeau has said that he was interested in the prosecution out of concern for Canadian jobs.