Most of Liberal riding association executive backs Wilson-Raybould

VANCOUVER — The bulk of the federal Liberals’ Vancouver Granville riding association executive members have quit after sitting MP Jody Wilson-Raybould revealed she would run as an Independent in the Oct. 21 federal election.

Former riding association chair John Turner said most of those people will now switch to Wilson-Raybould’s new campaign.

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“Several of the people will be moving to her campaign, including myself,” Turner said in an interview.

Wilson-Raybould has been in the political spotlight since early this year when she was removed as justice minister and attorney general. She said the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pressured her to overrule a decision not to allow Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to avoid criminal charges for bribery. Wilson-Raybould was kicked out of the Liberal caucus soon after.

Wilson-Raybould, who handily won what was then the new Vancouver Granville riding for the Liberals in 2015, was then courted by the federal NDP and Greens, but revealed last week that she would run as an Independent.

“I can only really speak for myself, but the reason I left was triggered by her announcement that she would be running as an Independent,” said Turner, adding that nine people on the riding association’s 15-person board had resigned.

He said board chair Claire Marshall was among that group and that she, too, would join the Wilson-Raybould campaign.

“A lot of people, since she made her announcement, have sent their name to [Wilson-Raybould] and to Claire [Marshall] wanting to get involved,” he said. “There’s great loyalty and great enthusiasm there.”

Turner said he would remain a member of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Braeden Caley, the Liberal Party’s senior director of communications, said grassroots members will decide in late June who will fill the vacancies in the Vancouver Granville electoral district association. Volunteers are bridging the gaps on an interim basis.

Caley said “a variety of talented community leaders” have approached the party to express their interest in running for the Liberals in the riding in the fall election.

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