McKenna will not be running again; wants to spend time with her children, focus on fighting climate change

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McKenna is due to hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on Monday to announce his decision to step down in the next election.

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Member of Parliament for Ottawa Center and Minister of Infrastructure Catherine McKenna has decided not to stand for re-election.

The two-term MP’s surprise move opens up a high-profile political area that could become a launching pad for former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney if he decides to run for the Liberals in the next election. McKenna has occupied Ottawa Center, a constituency that encompasses Parliament Hill, since 2015, when she moved her away from popular NDP incumbent Paul Dewar.

Carney did not pledge to run, but promised in April, during his political debut at the Liberal Party virtual convention, to do whatever he can to support the party.

McKenna is due to hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on Monday to announce his decision to step down in the next election, but a prior copy of his remarks was obtained by The Canadian Press on Sunday.

“When I entered politics eight years ago, I made two simple promises to myself: always fight for what I believe in and leave when I did what I entered politics for,” reads. one in the speech.

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She says she wants to spend more time with her three children and devote her professional energies to the fight against climate change.

“Like many Canadians, living with COVID-19 for a very long time has made me step back and think about what matters most to me. And that’s two things: my kids and climate change.

McKenna informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of his decision on Sunday. She offered to continue as Minister of Infrastructure until an election is called.

McKenna spoke in Ottawa on Thursday when announcing $ 169 million in federal funding for Ottawa Community Housing, enthusiastically praising his government for “getting things done” in the city. She did not respond to a request for comment from that newspaper on Sunday.

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All parties say they do not want to go to the polls during the pandemic, but all feverishly prepare for an election as Trudeau increasingly appears to be laying the groundwork to unplug his minority government this summer.

Catherine McKenna speaks to the media about an incident at her constituency office in Ottawa in August 2020.
Catherine McKenna speaks to the media about an incident at her constituency office in Ottawa in August 2020. Photo by Jean Levac /Post-media news

As Trudeau’s Environment Minister during his first term, McKenna led the introduction of the Liberal government’s National Climate Change Action Plan, which included a price tag on emissions from carbon. The carbon price – or “tax” as the Conservatives call it – has been fiercely opposed by the provincial governments of Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, who have challenged its constitutionality in court. The Supreme Court ruled in March that it was constitutional.

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But McKenna has become a lightning rod for climate opposition and has become the target of misogynistic threats and slurs. Last summer, Ottawa Police investigated a man who recorded himself uttering a hateful and vitriolic rant outside his constituency office on Catherine Street. Police said they considered it a hate crime.

“Canadians don’t want that. We cannot stand it. And we have to be vigilant. We need to take action to make sure this stops happening, ”McKenna said at the time, calling social media platforms where she first saw the video circulating.

“We need to hold social media platforms to account,” she said. “The video that circulated has given more voice to anyone and people who want to spread hatred and bullying. “

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In October 2019, the office was vandalized by someone who spray-painted obscenity on the door. McKenna campaigned in the 2019 election with an element of security after an incident as she walked with her children and a man in a car pulled up beside them and yelled obscenities.

In the text of her remarks for Monday’s announcement, McKenna specifically addresses young girls who are wondering if politics is for them. “Do it. And when you do, don’t be afraid to run like a girl. I’ll be there to cheer you on,” she said. “Get into politics to do something, never be anything. There are a lot of things not to like about this business, but you can make a bigger difference in the lives of more people than you can elsewhere.

Trudeau moved McKenna to the infrastructure post after the 2019 election. That decision, among others, put him in charge of funding green projects to help Canada meet its emission reduction targets.

But it seems McKenna has failed to be at the heart of the fight against climate change.

“This is a critical year for climate action in the most important decade that will decide whether we can save the only planet we have,” she said, explaining her decision not to stand again.

“I want to spend my working hours helping make sure we do this. “

– With files from Blair Crawford

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