Jody Wilson-Raybould says life as an Independent can be 'lonely'
OTTAWA -- The sole Independent member of Parliament occupying a seat in the House of Commons says life in the back benches has its challenges.
"I’ve gone through a journey over the last year, a very public journey, from the front government benches to the very back corner as an Independent," said Jody Wilson-Raybould in an interview on CTV’s Question Period.
Wilson-Raybould was ejected from the Liberal caucus in April, alongside fellow former cabinet minister Jane Philpott. Both left cabinet amid the months-long SNC-Lavalin scandal in which Wilson-Raybould accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his office of repeated political interference in the criminal case involving Quebec construction giant SNC-Lavalin.
She was re-elected as an Independent this fall in her riding of Vancouver Granville after running a campaign focused on the detriments of party politics.
"There are elements of it that are lonely but more importantly I have built, even more so, relationships with members of Parliaments right across all party lines and I think in terms of politics and the divisive nature of this election, we have to work across party lines," she said.
Wilson-Raybould said despite being low on the private member’s bill lottery, lessening her chances of being able to introduce and pass her own legislation, she’ll work with partners across the aisle as well as representatives in the Senate to advance her top priorities.
"I would love to put forward changes to Standing Orders – certainly Indigenous Reconciliation and pursuing and achieving a rights recognition framework— and in the criminal justice realm I want to ensure we make changes to the mandatory minimum penalties in the Criminal Code."
Standing Orders are the rules that govern the House of Commons, changes to them are often contentious if not agreed to by all sides.
Wilson-Raybould was recently embroiled in a Parliamentary office issue that had some accusing her of acting “entitled” for not willingly moving out of her office to make way for a new minister in Trudeau’s cabinet.
After reaching an agreement with House of Commons administration, she moved offices – just three floors above her previous one.
"For those people who know me I’m probably the farthest away from entitled and I mean I understand the Parliamentary practice of shifting offices after an election. Perhaps I could have communicated more clearly around the office situation."