Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott will not run as Green Party candidates in the fall election, CBC News has learned.
Sources who spoke to CBC News on condition they remain anonymous said the two former cabinet ministers spoke with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May several times about possibly running for her party.
Wilson-Raybould also attended May’s wedding in Victoria at the end of April, stoking rumours that she might jump to the Greens.
Wilson-Raybould currently sits as an independent MP for Vancouver Granvillle and Philpott for Markham-Stouffville.
The two women quit the Liberal cabinet over the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair — which went public early in the year after Wilson-Raybould accused senior officials in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government of pressuring her inappropriately to allow the Quebec-based engineering firm to avoid a trial on corruption charges. They were subsequently kicked out of the Liberal caucus on April 2.
Getting two high-profile ex-Liberals to run for the Greens — especially ones so closely tied to the biggest political scandal to face the Trudeau government — would have given May extra horsepower heading into this election season.
The Greens have been surging recently. On Monday, May will officially welcome the party’s second MP into the House of Commons. Paul Manly will be sworn in after winning the recent Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection in British Columbia by a comfortable margin.
The Greens also have seen an uptick in support in recent provincial elections. In P.E.I., the party took over as the Official Opposition after winning eight seats in April. Ontario voted in its first Green MPP this year. And in 2017, the party won three seats in B.C., giving it the balance of power in the province.
It isn’t clear yet if Wilson-Raybould or Philpott will run as independents. Historically, about one-third of Canadian MPs have successfully been re-elected as independents after leaving their parties.