Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she won’t seek re-election

Celina Caesar-Chavannes rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, May 25, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin affair, has announced she will not seek re-election.

The rookie MP for Whitby, Ont., made the announcement in a statement on Twitter Saturday afternoon, after what she described as many conversations with family, as well as prayer and reflection.

“I had the opportunity to work with some fantastic colleagues, debate policy, put forward ideas and shape tremendous pieces of legislation that will have a real and positive impact on families across the country,” she said of her time on Parliament Hill.

“It is an honour I never took for granted, and will not soon forget. That is why this announcement is a tremendously difficult one for me to make.”

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WATCH: More coverage of the SNC-Lavalin controversy

She said she informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of her decision on Feb. 12 — which was the day that Wilson-Raybould resigned from her post as veterans affairs minister.

She said in her letter, however, that her decision has nothing to do with Wilson-Raybould, who this week told the House of Commons justice committee she faced pressure from the prime minister and his office to interfere in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

READ MORE: Trudeau ‘definitely not in agreement’ after Wilson-Raybould details pressure, ‘veiled threats’ in SNC-Lavalin affair

“I have tremendous respect for Ms. Wilson-Raybould and this will never change. Factors influencing this decision started long before February 12,” Caesar-Chavannes stated.

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On Wednesday afternoon, as Wilson-Raybould gave her testimony on the SNC-Lavalin matter, Caesar-Chavannes tweeted “Truth is power. Proud of you.”

Wilson-Raybould responded to Caesar-Cavannes’ announcement in a tweet on Saturday, calling her a “crusader for equality, justice and inclusion.”

Caesar-Chavannes, who ran a research management consulting firm prior to her election in 2015, served as a parliamentary secretary to both the prime minister and the minister of international development during her term.

She has made headlines for opening up about mental illness and racial microaggressions she experienced on Parliament Hill.

READ MORE: Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes opens up about living with mental illness

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In May 2018, she and then-Conservative MP Maxime Bernier got into a Twitter dispute when Bernier accused Caesar-Chavannes of thinking “the world revolves around (her) skin colour.”

Caesar-Chavannes responded to Bernier by pointing out that she deals with policy on a daily basis.

“Unlike you however, I can focus on policy while also shifting the status quo and increasing awareness,” she tweeted. “That’s what happens when you #AddWomen. We get more done!”

READ MORE: ‘You think the world revolves around your skin colour’: Liberal and Conservative MP tangle on Twitter

That wasn’t the first time the two had clashed online. In March 2018, Caesar-Chavannes apologized to Bernier on Twitter after telling him to “check your privilege and be quiet” in a heated discussion about funding for minority communities.

Bernier did not seem open to the idea, telling Caesar-Chavannes he did not think the two could find much “common ground.”

Canadians will head to the polls in October.

–With files from the Canadian Press

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