Conservative MP Kellie Leitch, who proposed screening immigrants for "Canadian values" during her failed party leadership bid, has announced she won't run again in the 2019 election.
Ms. Leitch, who represents the Ontario riding of Simcoe-Grey, said she plans to return to her work as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and her next project will be in Kumasi, Ghana, with the Washington-based Health Volunteers Overseas.
"The last seven years of elected public service have been an honour. My time in politics has been a genuine privilege, and I will always be thankful to the constituents of Simcoe-Grey for their tremendous support," Ms. Leitch said in a statement.
"I have concluded, however, that the time has come for me to serve in other ways, including as a surgeon and volunteer. I will continue my work for my constituents first, for the balance of this Parliament, but will not seek re-election."
The two-term MP and former cabinet minister gained notoriety last year when she centred her Conservative leadership campaign on a proposal to screen immigrants, refugees and visitors for "anti-Canadian values."
That followed her role during the 2015 election as a pitch woman for a Conservative plan to launch a hotline for people to report so-called barbaric cultural practices. The values screening proposal was heavily criticized both outside and inside her own party, with Ms. Leitch labelled a demagogue and the "karaoke version" of U.S. President Donald Trump by her rivals. The focus of her campaign surprised some of her long-time mentors, such as former Conservative senator Hugh Segal, who said he couldn't support her leadership bid.
Throughout the campaign, Ms. Leitch repeatedly slammed "elites" and the establishment, despite her own significant academic credentials.
Ms. Leitch finished sixth in the leadership race and was left out of leader Andrew Scheer's shadow cabinet, a signal that her stock had fallen significantly in the party.
In a statement, Mr. Scheer thanked Ms. Leitch for her service and cited her work as chair of an expert panel before she was elected that recommended the now-defunct children's fitness tax credit to the Stephen Harper government.
"Bringing her unique background in medicine to public life, Kellie was instrumental in developing the children's fitness tax credit, an important benefit for families that was a major legacy of our previous Conservative government," he said. "We have all come to greatly respect Kellie's experience, ability and passion for public service. As she completes her term as a Member of Parliament and prepares for the next chapter of her life, we wish her all the best."
There was no guarantee Ms. Leitch could even have run again for the Tories in 2019. Two people filed applications to the party late last year to challenge her for the Conservative nomination in the riding.
With a report from The Canadian Press