VANCOUVER — Former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was locked in a tight three-way battle to retain her riding as an Independent in early results from Monday’s federal election.
Wilson-Raybould quit Justin Trudeau’s cabinet after she accused the prime minister and his office of inappropriately pressuring her as the attorney general to intervene in the criminal prosecution of Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin on corruption charges.
Her decision to leave cabinet over the affair was followed by Jane Philpott, who failed in her attempt to win as Independent in the Ontario riding of Markham-Stouffville.
Trudeau eventually kicked both women out of the Liberal caucus and many of their supporters saw it as vindication when the federal ethics commissioner concluded that Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring Wilson-Raybould to stop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
After trailing in early results, dozens of supporters erupted in cheers when Wilson-Raybould pulled into first place with 55 of 205 polls reporting results, followed closely by Conservative Zach Segal and Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed.
Wilson-Raybould won the seat handily for the Liberals in 2015.
She pledged throughout her campaign to do politics differently through a non-partisan approach, a message that was backed by the support of Green Leader Elizabeth May at a rally in September.
Wilson-Raybould became a star candidate for the Liberals in their 2015 bid for power after serving as a B.C. regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
Philpott and Wilson-Raybould supported one another at events throughout the campaign.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2019.
Amy Smart, The Canadian Press