Macleod MP stepping down immediately forcing by-election
Politics: Ted Menzies says he is ready to start his new career
Wednesday, Nov 06, 2013 12:08 pm
Macleod MP Ted Menzies announced today (Nov. 6) he is stepping down from Parliament effective immediately forcing a by-election within the next six months.
In July Menzies announced he would not be seeking re-election in 2015, but a new career opportunity presented itself and he is retiring from politics before his current term expires.
Menzies, a former cabinet minister, said it has been a difficult day.
“It almost brings tears to my eyes,” said Menzies of the support he is receiving from colleagues in Ottawa this morning. “People have been too kind; it is an emotional day.”
Menzies said he will not reveal his next career preferring his new employer make the announcement.
Menzies was elected as a Conservative MP in 2004 and enjoyed a great deal of success in Ottawa serving as parliamentary secretary to the ministers of international co-operation and finance. Then in 2011 he was promoted to cabinet as minister of state for finance before stepping down in July. He was also honoured as the hardest working MP as voted on by his peers at the Parliamentarian of the Year Awards in 2010.
The Claresholm farmer said he wanted to thank all of the constituents of the Macleod riding for their support over the years.
“This role has given me an opportunity that is only afforded to a few,” he said in a statement. “My wife, Sandy, and I have made so many new friends and gotten to know so many people that we may never have met otherwise, despite the fact that they might only live in the next town.
“You have shared stories about your lives, invited us into your homes and helped guide me over these years. And I thank you all for that.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also thanked Menzies for his contributions and service over the past nine years.
“Ted has been a strong voice and advocate for Alberta, and a valued member within our caucus,” said Harper in a prepared statement. “In all of these functions, he has earned the highest respect not just of me, but of all his colleagues in Parliament. Ted’s expertise, insight and exemplary work ethic will certainly be missed."
Although he enjoyed a great deal of success in federal politics Menzies said when he was elected in 2004 he had no intentions of being a career politician and it was time to move on. After the flood ravaged communities in his riding in June Menzies stepped down from his ministerial duties to focus on helping with recovery from the disaster.
Although he is stepping down much sooner than he expected, Menzies said he is proud of what he accomplished during his nine years in Ottawa.
“It was a wonderful ride, a wonderful experience and I met some wonderful friends,” he said.
More importantly, he said he was able to help the Conservative government push Canada in the right direction of economic recovery and prosperity.
“We turned the direction of government around,” he said. “We have a government more in line of running like a business. To run a business you have to be leaner and meaner especially in times of recession and afterwards.
“We brought our fiscal house in order and we will (have a balanced budget) in 2015 and then we can work on what we started in 2006 and that is paying down the debt.”
Menzies said he was also proud of his role in eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly and streamlining the government’s public sector to be more cost-effective.
With Menzies stepping down, the Macleod Conservative Electoral District Association will hold a nomination to replace their representative and prepare for a by-election.
According to Elections Canada, a by-election must be held within six months of Menzies’ retirement.
Macleod Conservative Electoral District Association president Gary Duchak said there are no dates in place for the nomination and they are waiting for word from Elections Canada on the by-election.
Duchak said the by-election will be held under the Macleod Riding, but the Macleod Riding will become Foothills when the new ridings come into effect as part of the redistribution when the writ is dropped for the next federal election in 2015.
Three people have already voiced interest in running for the nomination including Springbank businessman Scott Wagner, foothills rancher Phil Rowland and High River’s Melissa Mathieson who worked in various capacities in the federal government in Ottawa over the past three years.
Menzies said it was an honour to represent the people of Macleod and he knows there are talented people waiting the wings to replace him as the Conservative candidate in Macleod.
He said he will not publicly support any of the candidates, but if they ask his advice he will be happy to offer what he can. After the nomination, he will be there to guide the new Conservative candidate.
“I am not going away,” he said. I will be here and I will help the new candidate get started. The most important message I can give them is be yourself, be honest and listen more then you talk.”
As for his time in Ottawa Menzies admitted it was a lot of work, a lot of hours and, at times, it was hard on his family, but he added, “Overall, I loved it.”