VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Education Minister George Abbott has confirmed he will not seek re-election in the spring.
His departure had been rumoured for some time but after stints in Opposition and 33 years in local and provincial government, he’s done.
“The Legislature has been my personal Hotel California. I was here in 1976 as a legislative intern and as they say, you can check out but you can never leave,” explains Abbott.
He tells us he’s ready to entertain grandchildren and anticipates a cabinet shakeup next week will mean someone else will take over in the education ministry.
Abbott says he’s willing to help the Liberals try to get re-elected. “The BC Liberal Party is firmly entrenched in the ditch of public opinion and we need to dig ourselves out. The premier’s got the unenviable task of doing that today and I think she’s got the tools to do that.”
John Les not running again in May
John Les, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, has also announced he will not seek re-election. He has served three terms as the MLA for Chilliwack.
Les says he’s enjoyed his ten years in government but it’s time to go, but he defends the Liberal record. “We have re-earned our Triple-A credit rating in British Columbia, one of the very few jurisdictions around the world that has that ability to say that.”
Les notes he is willing to help his party try to regain power. “I think we’re up to the challenge. I want to be part of that challenge, not as a candidate, but I’ll certainly be there to do whatever I can.”
“I trust I have been able to represent the people of Chilliwack well and hope they will forgive any shortcomings on my part,” he adds in a statement.
Mary McNeil also leaving politics
Children and Family Development Minister Mary McNeil has also announced she will not run in the May 2013 election.
In a statement, the MLA for Vancouver-False Creek says her decision was not an easy one, “as I have very much enjoyed my time in public office.
“When making such an important decision as this, there are many factors that need to be considered, just as there were many factors when I first decided to run for public office over four-and-a-half years ago,” says McNeil.
“The most important for me was my family, especially my thirteen wonderful grandchildren, who I know have lost out on quality time with their grandmother these past four years,” she adds.
Premier Christy Clark praises Abbott’s keen intellect and sharp wit around the table, McNeil’s cooperation with the child watchdog to help vulnerable kids, and John Les’s help to fight drugs and combat crime in BC as solicitor general.
Yesterday morning, Kevin Falcon resigned from his Cabinet post and announced he will not run again in May.