Saturday, March 10, 2007

changing of the guard or last one out: turn off the lights

A dozen Liberal MPs not expected to run in next election
CanWest News Service March 10, 2007

Up to a dozen Liberal MPs have decided to keep their hats out of the ring in the next election.

But Liberals deny the trickle of retirements will turn into the kind of flood the Progressive Conservatives experienced when Brian Mulroney's popularity plummeted and a string of sitting MPs decided to jump instead of sinking with their ship.

"I'm not backing down," rough-andready Liberal Paul Steckle said Friday following his decision to step down after representing his Huron-Bruce riding in Ontario since 1993.

"I've made a life choice to spend a little more time doing something else," said the 64-year-old Steckle.

Steckle won his riding by just over 800 votes in the last election.

Another Ontario veteran, Willowdale MP Jim Peterson, insisted he and his wife months ago made the decision this would be his last term, after holding the district through six elections since 1988 and one term in 1980.

Peterson said he expects Liberal Leader Stephane Dion to appoint a successor candidate in the Willowdale bastion. Party rumours suggest the plum may go to Martha Hall Findlay, the Toronto lawyer who was a candidate in the Liberal leadership contest in Montreal.

Prince Edward Island MP Joe McGuire also announced his retirement this week.

The other Liberals who have announced they will not run again are: Vancouver MP Stephen Owen; Fredericton MP Andy Scott; Guelph MP Brenda Chamberlain; Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell; Toronto MP Bill Graham, who made way for former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae to run as a Liberal; Nickel Belt MP Raymond Bonin; Montreal MP Jean Lapierre, who has already resigned his seat; and former prime minister Paul Martin. Steckle said Thunder Bay MP Joe Comuzzi is also likely to retire.