Ontario Conservative MPP John Baird won the Conservative nomination last week to run in the federal riding of Ottawa West-Nepean against 16-year veteran Liberal incumbent Marlene Catterall, but Ms. Catterall says she’s running again in the vulnerable Liberal riding.
A five-termer, Ms. Catterall has represented the riding since 1988. But she won the last election by 1,380 votes or with 41.78 per cent of the vote. She said that she fully intends to run in the next election. “I think it’s going to be an interesting election in the riding,” she said. “People know John Baird is a strong candidate and is well-known but he’s vulnerable on some issues so we’re going to have to work harder and smarter.”
Ms. Catterall declined to say on which issues Mr. Baird is “vulnerable,” adding that she’s “saving that for the campaign.”
For his part, Mr. Baird wrote on his website last week that he ran for the nomination because “there must be consequence to Liberal corruption” and because “Ontario has no influence and has been taken for granted and abused by the Martin Liberals.” The current Progressive Conservative Nepean-Carleton MPP and former Ontario Minister of Energy was unavailable for further comment.
Meanwhile, Ms. Catterall said she doesn’t believe Canadians want a Conservative government and that the people of Ottawa West-Nepean don’t want a Conservative MP: “Especially someone who’s more of a right-wing Conservative,” she said about Mr. Baird.
Ms. Catterall told The Hill Times that she thinks she has a good chance at winning her seat, despite allegations of Liberal corruption during the on-going Gomery Inquiry. “A lot of factors come in to play on how people vote,” she said. “That will be important but it was a factor in the last election too. I doubt you will find anyone who will question my integrity. People know my record; they know how hard I work for my riding and for my country.”
Meanwhile, a number of MPs announced their plans to exit the world of federal politics last week.
NDP MP Ed Broadbent (Ottawa Centre, Ont.) announced his intention to retire from politics because of his wife’s declining health as one of the major reasons. His wife, Lucille, recently had surgery for cancer and “spends much of each day in pain,” Mr. Broadbent said.
“I simply cannot continue in the future with all the work expected of an MP and meet my deeply felt obligations to the person who is the love of my life.”
NDP Leader Jack Layton (Toronto Danforth, Ont.) paid tribute to Ms. Broadbent in the House of Commons during Question period, “for her generosity of spirit, and common conviction; for sharing the member for Oshawa and now the member for Ottawa Centre with us. Canada would be a worse place without her generosity.”
Mr. Broadbent was first elected to Parliament in 1968. He remained in the House until 1988 and made a splashy comeback in 2004. Mr. Broadbent won the riding against Richard Mahoney, a top adviser to Prime Minister Paul Martin (LaSalle-Émard, Que.), who intends to run in the next election.
In the House last week, Mr. Broadbent was toasted by party leaders and the Prime Minister and he offered these words. “I have been here for the great debates of my time on the Constitution, on the national energy program, on the War Measures Act, on the recognition of Japanese Canadians, their place in history and our unpleasant, to put it euphemistically, treatment of them historically. Many debates went to the root of what this country is all about. I have had the great honour of being in this place first, because of the men and women in the city of Oshawa, my home town, who elected me to be here to take part in those debates. More recent, the men and women of Ottawa Centre have honoured me with the same kind of decision.”
He added poignantly, “I do not expect to come back.”
Mr. Broadbent said he will remain in Parliament until the next election is called.
Meanwhile, Liberal MP David Anderson (Victoria, B.C.), a former veteran Cabinet minister in Jean Chrétien’s government, also announced that he will not seek re-election. “I believe it is now time for me to move on to other challenges,” he said in a press release.
Mr. Anderson later told The Hill Times that he’s enjoyed his time in the House and would like to do something else, although he hasn’t yet decided what that would be. “I haven’t made any future plans yet or future employment. Who knows? I could still be in the House a year or two from now if the House lasts that long. When an election is called, I’ll decide then, after a nice holiday of course.”
Mr. Anderson, 67, was first elected to the House in 1968. In 1972, he switched to provincial politics and was an MLA in the British Columbia legislature. He returned to federal politics in 1993 and previously served as national revenue, transport and fisheries and oceans minister.
Fellow Liberal MP Peter Adams (Peterborough, Ont.), meanwhile, also announced late last month that he too will be leaving federal politics. When he ran last year, he said that that election would be his last.
In a letter to his colleagues titled “Moving On,” Mr. Adams wrote, “I thought that you should know I have decided not to run in the next election. As Chair of the Government Caucus on Post-Secondary Education and Research and, more recently, as Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for Post-Secondary Education, I have enjoyed working with you and others in higher education. It has been a great privilege for me to meet so many of you and visit campuses and research facilities across Canada. Thank you for your advice and support.”
Mr. Adams told Peterborough This Week that it was not an easy decision, but he “will work in the next campaign but [he] will not be the candidate.” He will remain in the House until the next election is called.
Conservative MPs Randy White (Abbotsford, B.C.), Darrel Stinson (Okanagan-Shuswap, B.C.), Dave Chatters (Westlock-St. Paul, Alta.) and John Reynolds (West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, B.C.) also previously announced they are retiring from politics.
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