For the past four years it has been my greatest privilege to serve the constituents of Vancouver Granville as your Member of Parliament and I believe my time in federal politics is not yet over. There is still much work to be done. So, after much reflection and deliberation and given all of the kind words of encouragement and support, I have decided to seek re-election in the upcoming 2019 federal election for Vancouver Granville as an independent candidate.
With your support, I am confident that running as an independent at this time is the best path forward to advance the positive change our country needs and to have the most impact on our evolving political system. From what you have told me, it is clear that many of us are motivated and inspired about doing politics differently.
I have learned and experienced much over the past three and a half years, both as your Member of Parliament and as a Cabinet Minister. The experience of being an MP has provided me with an increased appreciation of the diversity and richness of our community here in Vancouver Granville and the key issues that impact us all and others that are more specific to some. A number of deep relationships have been fostered and I am the true beneficiary of these. Thank you. As Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, I was very proud to be a part of such initiatives as the medical assistance in dying legislation, the legalization of cannabis, the Indigenous Directive on Civil Litigation, new legal protections for trans and gender diverse Canadians, and other justice reforms, including ensuring a more open and transparent system for selecting judges to ensure more diversity on the bench. That said, it has also become very apparent to me and to many other Canadians that there can be, and must be, a different way of doing politics that reflects where our country needs to go and does not regress. We all need to remain vigilant. And there is still work to be done to ensure our democracy evolves and continues to advance and respect the rule of law.
In making my decision to run as an independent, I have also reflected on why I ran in 2015 in the first place. Back then, in asking you to elect me as your representative, I pledged that I would strive, as best I could, to act differently than we had increasingly been accustomed to by politicians. Before 2015, I had never been involved in federal or provincial politics, and had never been a member of a political party. My leadership experience before running to be your MP had been in the Indigenous world, advocating for transformation in relations with Indigenous peoples. In my cultural teachings, we strive to work through consensus. While there are diverse views, tensions, and challenges, we do not entrench those in political parties, and we often frown on personal ambition. I have tried to bring this approach to Ottawa and will continue to do so.
I now see, more than ever, why this is so important. Moving forward, we cannot afford to be complacent. Around the globe, and across the country, environmental, economic, and security challenges are deepening. And these challenges share a fundamental characteristic – they ignore boundaries between nations and peoples. They impact all of us, remind us of the ways we are interconnected, and require solutions that see us acting with strength and in recognition of how we all have a part to play.
In the face of these challenges, many places in the world have chosen to erode democracy, traffic in fear, and promote division – naively thinking that the response to the interconnected challenges that effect all of us is to try to protect the few. We have to do the opposite. We must build on our strengths and accomplishments that have brought us together as a nation and allowed us to prosper. When the challenges we have to meet are collective ones, we need to respond through shared and joint efforts that use the distinct ideas, talents, and expertise we all have to offer.
Rising to these challenges requires Ottawa to operate more openly and transparently in a spirit on non-partisanship and cooperation. This is what I am now, more than ever, as an independent committed to advancing.
As an independent, though, my priorities have not changed. Both as a matter of individual and collective health and well-being, and as a matter of economic prosperity and national security, we must tackle climate change. This is the issue of our generation. As an Indigenous Canadian, it is also important to me that reconciliation be purposeful and lead to a stronger system of cooperative federalism where Indigenous peoples are full partners in Confederation. This is good for all of Canada. In our riding of Vancouver Granville, which is one of the most diverse in the country and growing quickly, we need to continue our focus working with all levels of government to meet the needs of our community. This includes addressing the housing needs as well as ensuring our transportation networks continue to be upgraded and improved, including the timely completion of the Broadway line.
As you consider your vote in October 2019, some may tell you that a vote for JWR is a wasted vote. Nothing could be further from the truth. I can assure you, in this period of transition, that a vote for JWR will ensure that you have a strong independent voice in Ottawa who will work with whichever party is in power, and with MPs of all political stripes, for the betterment of Vancouver Granville and our country. And when I say ‘independent’, I mean it in the true meanings of the word – “free from outside control; not depending on another's authority” and “not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence”. I will depend upon the vision, service, and support of the citizens of my riding and will listen to the voices of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Moreover, I will continue to work hard and always speak the truth.
In the lead up to the general election I will also continue to seek your guidance on evidence-based policy development, as well as uploading information and ideas to my website. In my view, once re-elected, one of the first tasks will be to work across party lines to amend the rules that govern how parliament works to make it more effective and less partisan.
I am very much looking forward to our on-going conversations whether through email, in community meetings or on the doorstep. And if you would like to join our independent movement or volunteer, please feel free to contact me. Your support in any way is most appreciated.
I look forward to continuing to earn your support so that we can carry on with our efforts to do politics differently and to ensure progress is made on the issues that are important to all of us.