You can almost hear the sigh of relief from the quartet of declared Vancouver mayoral candidates – incumbent Mayor Kennedy Stewart, John Coupar, Ken Sim, and Mark Marissen – as the words were spoken on television.
“I don’t have plans to be the next mayor of Vancouver,” said Jody Wilson-Raybould on the latest episode of This is VANCOLOUR on CHEK. This was her most definitive answer to date about a possible mayoral run that has been the source of rampant speculation ahead of the Oct. 15 municipal election.
“That’s not in the cards for me.”
After announcing her decision to not run for re-election as the independent Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Granville in the 2021 federal election, Wilson-Raybould continued to garner attention upon the release of her best-selling political memoir, Indian in the Cabinet. Immediately, rumours began to circulate about her mayoral candidacy in the City of Vancouver. While the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada has not ruled out a future political run – including a return to federal politics – she had previously brushed aside the rumours with open-ended language.
Anything is possible, of course, but it seems like her mind is made up for now, despite any peer pressure.
“Honestly, I’ve had many, many people ask me to [run for Mayor] and encourage me to [run]. I love this city. I think the office of the Mayor is an incredibly important responsibility.”
Later in the extended podcast version of her This is VANCOLOUR interview, Wilson-Raybould explained that for her “passion around Indigenous issues, around governance reform, around justice, the path to helping advance those issues even more is not necessarily through the Mayor’s office.”
If she were to run, Wilson-Raybould would have likely mobilized both voters across the political spectrum and otherwise disengaged voters on the strength of her high-profile alone. Arguably, she would have dominated the focus of local media attention in a mayoral race crowded with rather unexciting and uninspired men (so far).
Nevertheless, the municipal election in Vancouver may still be affected by Jody Wilson-Raybould’s presence.
“I have always been taught that if people ask you to do things that you need to seriously think about it. And, I did. I’ll support really awesome candidates that are putting their name forward.”
Notably, Wilson-Raybould says she could “potentially” endorse candidates in the upcoming civic election in Vancouver.
“I am a huge supporter of people putting their names forward. If they have a plan and know what they want to do and how they want to achieve their goals, then yeah, I’ll support them.”
With possibly more Vancouver mayoral candidates entering the race, including City Councillor Colleen Hardwick or a potential mayoral candidate from Vision Vancouver, an endorsement from Jody Wilson-Raybould could bring a lot of positive attention to anyone lucky enough to receive it. While perhaps an endorsement would not be the election-breaking event like having Wilson-Raybould run herself, it could still disrupt the trajectory of a race if it is well-executed and well-timed.
For now, however, the hopes of the four mayoral bros vying for Vancouver City Hall’s top job remain intact without the worry of being dashed by Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Mo Amir is the host of This is VANCOLOUR, Vancouver’s bona fide culture and politics talk show, now also airing on Sundays at 7 p.m. on CHEK.