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Okanagan politician Richard Cannings not seeking federal re-election in 2025

NDP MP Richard Cannings during a Zoom interview with Global News. Global News

A lifelong Okanagan resident and well-known politician won’t be seeking federal re-election in two years’ time.

On Tuesday, from the house he grew up in, Richard Cannings announced he’ll soon be retiring from politics.

The NDP candidate for South Okanagan-West Kootenay cited age as why he won’t be seeking re-election in 2025. He was first elected in 2015, then again in 2019 and 2021.

Click to play video: 'South Okanagan politician gearing up for new session of parliament'
South Okanagan politician gearing up for new session of parliament

“The reason behind the announcement is that I’m 69 years old,” Cannings told Global News. “I think it’s that time when I should step back, let somebody else take on this role.”

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He also said, “if I was a younger man, I’d be itching to get ready for that next election because there’s so much I want to share with Canadians about what we’ve done and what we can do.”

Cannings said being an MP is the “greatest job of my life and it’s been such a privilege and honour for the people of South Okanagan -West Kootenay to give me this trust.”

He also took a fun jab at himself, saying, “there’s the old joke that when politicians say they want to spend more time with their families, there’s other things (going on). In many cases, that’s the whole reason, and that’s really the reason here.”

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MP Richard Cannings takes issue with Pierre Poilievre comments

Cannings says he has a new granddaughter he’d like to babysit more often “and there’s a lot of yardwork to do here.”

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Asked why he got into politics, Cannings, a biologist and well-known birder, said “it was to add the voice of science” into the federal scene.

Global News also asked Cannings about the current state of politics, where bluster seems to take centre stage instead of commonality.

“I like to work in a collegial fashion, and with colleagues from all parties,” said Cannings. “That’s one thing I’m proud of. I try to bring people together rather than talk them apart.

“I think that’s the working relationship Canadians would like to see MPs use.”

Click to play video: 'Cannings says ‘positive message’ helped win narrow race in South Okanagan-West Kootenay'
Cannings says ‘positive message’ helped win narrow race in South Okanagan-West Kootenay

He continued, saying, “the last couple of years, especially, that sense of civility and collegiality, working together, has been eroded. That’s something I find concerning.

“When I go to Ottawa, I still talk to my Conservative colleagues, I still talk to my Liberal colleagues. Sometimes I end up in between them, trying to get them to listen to each other.

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“That’s so important, that we work together, because Canadians are having a tough time right now. And we have to work together to make life better for them. That’s what we were elected for.”

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