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London-Fanshawe MP Irene Mathyssen announces retirement from politics

NDP MP Irene Mathyssen asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Sean Kilpatrick. CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Sean Kilpatrick

A long-time NDP MP and former MPP has announced her retirement.

Irene Mathyssen, who represents the London-Fanshawe riding, says she won’t be seeking a fifth term in Parliament.

“It’s a job that takes a big chunk out of you,” Mathyssen told 980 CFPL.

“I want to give someone with that energy and commitment a chance to experience that incredible privilege and joy I’ve had, being an MP.”

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Mathyssen has spent nearly 18 years in public office, first as an MPP, elected in 1990. She was defeated in 1995, finishing third in the provincial election behind the Liberal’s Doug Reycraft and the winning Progressive Conservative candidate, Bruce Smith.

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She returned to politics in 2006, when she was elected the federal MP for London-Fanshawe. Mathyssen held onto that post for the NDP in the 2008, 2011, and 2015 elections.

“If I were to run again in 2019, I’d be 68, and by the time that was over – if I won – I’d be 72,” Mathyssen explained.

“It is time for a youthful hand at this particular job.”

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In a statement Monday morning, Mathyssen said the work of the NDP is not done and she plans to stay active in civilian roles.

She told 980 CFPL, the NDP has rules prohibiting her from being part of the candidate search time, but she’ll be “keeping her eyes open” and will provide support to candidates who come forward.

“I’m looking for that servant leader who puts the job, the people who are being served, above everything else. Above self-interest or self-promotion.”

As for her plans when a new member of Parliament fills her shoes after the 2019 federal election, she says she’s looking forward to spending time with her family and particularly her husband, Keith.

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“It’s time for Keith and I, it’s time for me to devote all that attention to him and show him how much his support has meant to me.”

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