Former federal Liberals Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott will disclose their political plans on Monday, the independent MPs said in social-media postings.
Since being ousted from the Liberal caucus over criticism of the federal government, the former senior cabinet ministers have said they were considering their political options ahead of an election expected in October, but have now decided how to proceed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expelled the pair last month, saying their criticism of his role in the SNC-Lavalin affair had broken bonds of trust and helped the government’s political opponents.
“I look forward to sharing my next steps with you,” Ms. Wilson-Raybould, the former justice minister and attorney-general who represents Vancouver-Granville, said in a Friday tweet that included an aerial view of Vancouver. She said she would be making a community announcement about her political future.
Ms. Philpott, the former Treasury Board president, said in her own tweet that many people have asked about her political future, and she would make a Monday announcement to constituents in her Toronto-area riding of Markham-Stouffville.
The two announcements are set to occur at roughly the same time – 9 a.m. for Ms. Wilson-Raybould in Vancouver, and 12:30 p.m. for Ms. Philpott in Markham.
A spokesperson for Ms. Wilson-Raybould declined to comment on the Monday announcement. A representative for Ms. Philpott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Elizabeth May, Leader of the federal Green Party, has said that both former Liberal MPs would decide by early June whether to join her party. On Friday, however, a spokesperson for the Greens declined to comment on Monday’s announcement.
In 2015, Ms. Wilson-Raybould won Vancouver-Granville with 44 per cent of the vote; the NDP and Tories took about 26 per cent each.
Ms. Philpott won Markham-Stouffville in 2015 with 49 per cent of the vote, compared with 43 per cent for the Conservative candidate.
In Vancouver-Granville, the Greens won 3 per cent of the vote in 2015 while the party won 2 per cent of the vote in Markham-Stouffville.
Mr. Trudeau made clear the two MPs’ criticism of the Prime Minister’s Office, which they said put pressure on the former attorney-general to shelve the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., gave ammunition to the opposition parties and presented the Liberals as a house divided.
The Prime Minister was especially critical of Ms. Wilson-Raybould for recording a telephone conversation with Michael Wernick, then-clerk of the Privy Council. In the conversation on Dec. 19, 2018, Mr. Wernick warns Ms. Wilson-Raybould that Mr. Trudeau was firm about wanting her to overrule federal prosecutors and grant an out-of-court settlement to SNC-Lavalin on bribery and fraud charges.
Once hailed by Mr. Trudeau as Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister, Ms. Wilson-Raybould had long indicated she would talk to supporters in her riding before deciding whether she would seek re-election.
Ms. Philpott, who resigned as president of the Treasury Board saying she had lost confidence in how Mr. Trudeau handled the SNC-Lavalin affair, has denied being disloyal to the Liberal Party.
The Globe and Mail reported on Feb. 7 that Mr. Trudeau’s office put pressure on Ms. Wilson-Raybould when she was attorney-general to help SNC-Lavalin. Mr. Trudeau called the story “false,” but the ensuing controversy led to the resignations of Ms. Wilson-Raybould, Ms. Philpott and the Prime Minister’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, as well as the retirement of Mr. Wernick.
Ms. Wilson-Raybould has said she remains committed to the values of the federal Liberal Party, and what it stood for in 2015.
“We committed to break old and cynical patterns of centralizing power in the hands of a few unelected staffers, the marginalization of hundreds of members of Parliament with expertise and insights to offer, and the practice of governing in the shadows, out of sight of Canadians,” she wrote in a letter to caucus last month. “I believed we were going to uphold the highest standards that support the public interest, and not simply make choices to create partisan advantage.
With a report from Laura Stone in Toronto