Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould has announced she will not seek re-election, saying Parliament has undergone “a regression” since 2015.
The former Liberal cabinet minister announced her decision in a letter to constituents of her Vancouver riding that was posted to Twitter this morning.
“It has become more and more toxic and ineffective while simultaneously marginalizing individuals from certain backgrounds,” said Wilson-Raybould, speaking about the House of Commons. “Federal politics is, in my view, increasingly a disgraceful triumph of harmful partisanship over substantive action.”
She says she is not leaving to spend more time with family or focus on other challenges, but because of this emphasis on partisan politics over real action, which she described as “self-interested partisanship, game-playing, and jockeying for advantage.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Wilson-Raybould as Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister in 2015, but she was booted from the Liberal caucus four years later after she accused the prime minister of pressuring her to secure a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin.
Wilson-Raybould, who does not say in her letter to constituents what she will be doing after leaving federal politics, was re-elected as an Independent MP in October 2019.
“I will be sharing more details soon about my future plans and work,” she said.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett apologized to Wilson-Raybould last month after sending Wilson-Raybould a one-word text that said, “Pension?”
It appeared to suggest her former caucus colleague was speaking out against a fall election because she was worried about her pension, and Wilson-Raybould called the text out as racist and misogynist.
Wilson-Raybould said in her letter she takes strength from the reaction of Canadians to the discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
She said her grandmother was a residential school survivor who helped preserve the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw governance system, known as the Potlatch, which was outlawed and oppressed under the Indian Act.
Wilson-Raybould promised to continue the work of fighting for an “evolving system” of governance in Canada — just not in the House of Commons.
“I have been looking at myself in the mirror, as my granny would have me do. I have been asking myself what I can do next, in whatever small way that might be, to help tackle the problems we face locally and beyond,” she said.
“I know that, at this time, those efforts will not be in Parliament.”
—With a report from the Canadian Press