Former New Democrat and now Green MP-elect Paul Manly has a message for two women banished by Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau.
“I would love to see Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott hop onboard the Green Party,” Manly told the Georgia Straight.
Manly was on the line in the morning following his victory in the May 6, 2019 byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith that made him Canada’s second elected Green MP after Elizabeth May.
According to the filmmaker, the win demonstrates that his party is a viable option for those seeking a new political home.
This could be important to Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, who were kicked out of the Liberal caucus in April this year amid the SNC-Lavalin coruption controversy. The two now sit as independent MPs for Vancouver Granville and Markham-Stoufville, respectively.
Canadian voters go to the polls in October this year.
Manly suggested that Wilson-Raybould and Philpott may have better chances of re-election as Greens rather than as independent candidates, should they decide to run.
“I think that they could potentially win with the Green Party,” Manly said.
The incoming MP also said that the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection validates what Greens have been saying for a long time.
“When you vote for what you want, and for policies and people that you want to represent you, you can elect them,” Manly said.
He cited two recent provincial elections as examples of this trend.
One was in April this year, when eight Greens won seats in the legislative assembly of Prince Edward Island, forming the first Green official opposition in Canadian political history.
In New Brunswick, Greens picked up three seats in September last year, an improvement to the one spot they captured in 2014.
In B.C., Andrew Weaver became the first Green member of a provincial legislature in Canada, when the climate scientist won in the 2013 B.C. election. In 2017, the B.C. Greens increased their seats to three, with the addition of Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau.
In June last year, the Green Party of Ontario had its own breakthrough, when leader Mike Schreiner was elected as member of the provincial parliament for Guelph.
In cities like Vancouver, Greens are also making inroads in electoral politics.
Manly first ran for the Greens in Nanaimo-Ladysmith in 2015, coming in third behind the NDP and Liberal Party with close to 20 percent of the vote.
In the May 6 byelection, Manly almost doubled his share of the vote to more than 37 percent.
Manly switched to the Greens after the federal NDP leadership blocked him from seeking a nomination in 2015. His father, Jim, was NDP MP.
Hamish Telford is an associate professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley.
Telford noted that it remains to be seen how the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection results will weigh into Wilson-Raybould and Philpott’s consideration of their next moves.
“But I do think that as a more general proposition, the little wave that were seeing for the Green Party— maybe it’s a ripple—will help in a couple of ways,” Telford told the Straight by phone. “It takes enormous pressure off Elizabeth May. She’s had to do everything for so long, and now she will have some assistance in Parliament.”
“It will also help perhaps in the recruitment of candidates,” Telford continued. “And…so that would include the likes of Jody Wilson-Raybould or Jane Philpott. But, you know, I think for them, they’re [Wilson-Raybould and Philpott] going to have to sort of make also other calculations about what they want to do with their political, professional futures. Do they stand a chance with the Green Party in their particular ridings? Are there better ways for them to advance their concerns?”
As a student of politics, Telford warns against reading too much into byelections as these exercises typically free voters from the constraints of strategic voting.
“Having said all of that, the result last night obviously put some wind in the sails of the Green Party,” Telford said.