Will Jody Wilson-Raybould be Vancouver’s voice in Ottawa?

The former Assembly of First Nations regional chief was personally recruited by Trudeau.

October 20, 2015

By Trevor Melanson / Photo: Handout

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Monday night, Vancouver was—like much of Canada—painted red. But who among B.C.’s new Liberal MPs will join the top ranks of the new government? In other words, will Vancouver have a high-profile cabinet minister as it’s had with Minister of Industry James Moore? (Moore declined to run this election, citing family reasons.) The answer: very likely. And perhaps the most widely speculated candidate is Vancouver born-and-raised Jody Wilson-Raybould.

The 44-year-old former Crown prosecutor and ex-regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations was, after all, personally recruited by Justin Trudeau. She also won Monday night with 44 per cent of the vote in Vancouver Granville, a newly created riding as of this election that includes neighbourhoods such as Fairview, Shaughnessy and Oakridge. Quite a feat considering a strategic voting advocacy group, Leadnow, told voters that NDP contestant Mira Oreck (who came in second with 27 per cent of the vote) was the strategic choice for anti-Harper voters. But Wilson-Raybould, like her party, surpassed expectations and then some.

So, what can we expect from Granville’s new spokesperson? Well, she’s an important voice for First Nations, for one, and indeed has cited the Idle No More movement as a motivation for her decision to run for office. Climate change is also a top concern for Wilson-Raybould, making her a likely contender for Canada’s new minister of the environment (which would be a busy job considering the party’s promise to set new carbon emissions targets within 90 days of taking office, not to mention the United Nations’ climate change meeting in Paris at the end of November). Wilson-Raybould is also an advocate of a national housing strategy—and hey, it’s hard to think of a more Vancouver-esque topic than affordable housing.

That all said, there is at least one other likely cabinet contender in town: Vancouver Quadra’s Joyce Murray, who ran against Trudeau for the party leader job (and placed second; granted, Trudeau won by a landslide). On Monday, Murray won her riding with a whopping 59 per cent of the vote.

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