MP Jim Abbott has announced that he will not run in the next election.
“I would like to thank all the constituents that I have had the honour of representing over the past 17 years,” Abbott said in a statement released Saturday morning. “The wonderful support they have shown me made this challenging job enjoyable. I can say without question that I have done my best to represent their views in the House of Commons.”
Abbott has represented the interior British Columbia riding of Kootenay-Columbia since 1993 when he was first elected as one of the original members of the Reform Party. Abbott was re-elected in every general election since, winning six elections in total.
Abbott sent a letter informing Prime Minister Stephen Harper of his decision to not seek re-election. In the letter Abbott says that after many years of serving the people of his riding, he would now like to spend more time with his family.
“Entering politics in 1990, I didn’t aspire to be an MP when I was forty-eight years old,” Abbott said in his letter to the prime minister. “I never envisioned being a Parliamentary Secretary at sixty-eight. And, I never thought I would be competing in six federal elections and a referendum.
“I certainly had no idea of the sacrifice I was asking of Jeannette, my kids, and now seven grandchildren.
“It has been a tremendous honour to represent Kootenay Columbia. They are dedicated citizens, without a doubt, a fabric of Canada. Having committed eighteen years to 100,000 constituents, Canada, and the Conservative Party, I’ve arrived at a conclusion. It’s well past time that I make the same level of commitment to my family.”
Abbott and Prime Minister Harper are long-time friends, going back to the days when they were first getting involved in politics.
“I am honoured to have not only had Jim as a colleague for so many years, but also as a friend,” Harper said in a statement. “I know that his decision to not run in the next election was a hard one for him to make, but I respect his reasons for it.”
While in opposition, Abbott served as his party’s critic for Canadian Heritage, Solicitor General, Revenue Canada, Regional Development, and the Senate. He has also served as Chair of the British Columbia Conservative Caucus.
When the Conservative Party formed government in 2006, Abbott was named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and in 2008 became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation.
During his 17 years in Parliament, Abbott was particularly involved in Asia Pacific issues. He has served as chairman and held other executive positions in several Asia Pacific Parliamentary organizations. He has also organized delegations to Asia and participated regularly in inter-parliamentary conferences.
On Oct. 17, 2007, Abbott was sworn into the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada, and as such is titled “The Honourable” for life.
Abbott will continue to serve the constituents of Kootenay-Columbia until the next election, whenever that date may be. He will also continue in his role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation.