After seven years representing Victoria in Parliament as a New Democrat, Murray Rankin says he won’t run for re-election this fall.
Rankin said in an interview on Thursday his decision was very difficult, and serving as an MP has been the “most rewarding experience” of his life.
“I’ve got to know so many people in our community,” he said. “I’ve got to know so many great colleagues here in Ottawa in the caucus. One of the great benefits of being an MP is in order to do your job and represent people, you have to know people from all walks of life and I’ve really enjoyed that.”
The 69-year-old also said his choice is about moving to a new chapter in his life and has nothing to do with the NDP’s prospects or Jagmeet Singh’s leadership.
The party has been lagging in popular support and fundraising.
He suggested the New Democrats’ fortunes are “definitely going up,” adding that Singh won his Burnaby South byelection by “significant margins” over both the Liberal and Conservative candidates.
“It looks to me to be a turning point,” he said. “We will have a leader in the House ... I think people will be able to see a distinct contrast between us and the Conservatives and Liberals.”
Rankin joins a growing list of NDP MPs who have announced they are not going to be running again in October’s election.
The list includes Alberta MP Linda Duncan, Ontario MPs Irene Mathyssen and David Christopherson, Quebec’s Helene Laverdiere, Romeo Saganash, Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet and Anne Minh-Thu Quach and B.C.’s Fin Donnelly.
Former MPs Kennedy Stewart and Sheila Malcolmson also left their jobs. Stewart is now Vancouver’s mayor and Malcolmson is a provincial politician in B.C.
Former Quebec MP and leader Tom Mulcair also quit politics to work as a visiting professor at Universite de Montreal.
Rankin said Thursday he takes pride in work he’s done on issues including fighting for tax fairness and medical assistance in dying and working to ensure Canadians serving jury duty can access psychological supports.
“I hope I’ve made a difference,” Rankin said.
He said his work with the House of Commons justice committee has also been important, suggesting the “constitutional crisis” involving former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould will be an issue discussed for many months.
Rankin stressed he will not be working any less until the end of his mandate as MP.
Prior to becoming a politician, Rankin worked as a law professor and practising lawyer with expertise in public and environmental law.