The former Conservative MP for the riding of Vancouver-South says she is seriously considering a run in the federal election this fall to win back her seat from Liberal MP Harjit Sajjan.
Wai Young, who served as MP from 2011 to 2015, said she has discussed her possible candidacy with the party but hasn’t set a date when she will make a decision to run or sit out this year’s campaign.
“People have approached me all over—on the street, in a restaurant—to ask me if I’m running again and it’s something I’m considering very seriously,” said Young, who lives in the riding.
Young said she hadn’t been notified whether the party had set a nomination date or told if anyone else has shown an interest in representing the Conservatives in the riding.
Though she has been out of federal politics since she lost to Sajjan in 2015, Young raised her profile last year in her run for mayor of Vancouver.
She ran under the Coalition Vancouver banner and finished fourth with 11,872 votes in the 19-person race. Former Burnaby NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, whom Young referred to as “socialist” and “radical” during the campaign, won the election with 49,705 votes.
Some of the main planks of Young’s campaign were to lower taxes, scrap bike lanes outside Vancouver General Hospital and on the Cambie Bridge, offer free parking on Sundays and reduce the amount of garbage and syringes on city streets.
Young’s interest in winning back her federal seat comes after Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was in Vancouver April 12 to speak to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
Scheer told reporters after his speech that he was “very confident” the party will regain the seats lost in 2015. Young’s victory in 2011 over Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh marked the first time since 1993 that the riding was no longer held by a Liberal.
If Young decides to run, she will face a high-profile candidate in Sajjan, a former Vancouver police officer and Canadian soldier who serves as minister of defence.
Sajjan participated in last weekend’s Vaisakhi parade in the riding and was joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Scheer also attended the event.
The prime minister has made regular trips to B.C. and Metro Vancouver in the last couple of months to join fellow MPs in funding announcements and endorse former broadcaster Tamara Taggart as the Liberal candidate in Vancouver-Kingsway.
Vancouver’s six ridings have historically gone to the Liberals or NDP, with the NDP represented in Vancouver-Kingsway (Don Davies) and Vancouver-East (Jenny Kwan).
In the 2015 vote, the Liberals won Vancouver-South (Sajjan), Vancouver-Centre (Hedy Fry), Vancouver-Quadra (Joyce Murray) and Vancouver-Granville (Jody Wilson-Raybould).
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has since removed Wilson-Raybould as the Liberal candidate in Vancouver-Granville, a move made in relation to the ongoing SNC-Lavalin affair.
Wilson-Raybould has not said whether she will run as an independent in the riding, or seek to join another party, or quit politics. The Courier has made repeated requests to speak Wilson-Raybould but has not received a response.
The SNC-Lavalin affair has been “troubling” and “concerning” for Canadians, Young said in reference to Wilson-Raybould’s accusations that some of Trudeau’s staff attempted to politically interfere in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
“If we don’t have the rule in Canada and a basic respect for that, then what do we have?” she said. “It’s really interesting that when the story broke in the media, the prime minister said there’s no story here, it’s not even true. It’s been well proven now that everything that Jody Wilson-Raybould has said has been true.”
The federal election is Oct. 21.
with files from Jessica Kerr