Friday, November 25, 2005

The MPs Who Won't Return

With the upcoming dissolution of Parliament, quite a bit of time was spent during Members' Statements yesterday eulogizing some of those MPs who won't be running again. You already know about John Efford, Ed Broadbent and Carolyn Parrish, but these four were commended yesterday:

-- David Chatters (CPC, Westlock-St. Paul). A member for over 10 years, he's currently battling renal cancer, which is why he missed last spring's budget vote.

-- Jim Gouk (CPC, British Columbia Southern Interior). Elected at the same time as Mr. Chatters, Mr. Gouk made his announcement back in June. After more than a decade in Ottawa, he understandably wants more family time.

-- Darrel Stinson (CPC, Okanagan-Shuswap). Another MP from the class of '93, he's suffering from bladder cancer (he also missed last spring's budget vote) and initially announced his retirement plans in April.

-- Marcel Gagnon (BQ, St-Maurice-Champlain). An MP since 2000, he's been the BQ critic for seniors' issues.

In paying tribute to M. Gagnon, Richard Marceau mentioned that there were 20 MPs who wouldn't be running in the next election. Some are battling illness; others are simply worn out by the rigours of being an MP.

You have to understand, it's a pretty tough life. They have to maintain two homes: one in their riding, and one in Ottawa. Travel costs being what they are, particularly for the West and the Territories, their time can be stretched. They have to look after their constituents' problems, and they have to brief themselves on issues before the committees they sit on, and they have to debate their party policy and strategies for Parliament, and they have to vote in the House.

So when they get tributes in Parliament, you can bet they've earned it, particularly if they've sat through more than one term.