Longtime Saskatchewan member of Parliament says he won't run for office again

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SASKATOON - A member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is stepping down from politics.

Saskatoon-Wanuskewin MP Maurice Vellacott says he won't run in the next election because he wants to spend more time with his family, including one son in his 20s who has significant mental health challenges.

Vellacott also says it's the "appropriate thing at this junction to clear the decks … so other good people can step forward."

It’s a decision Vellacott said he has been thinking about since the last election, adding the possible changes to federal riding boundaries in Saskatchewan wasn’t why he made the decision.

However, he says he still doesn’t support the changes, saying he doesn't want something "rigged and fixed" that "doesn't represent the province."

Vellacott plans to keep busy for his next two years in politics.

“I’ve still got an equal parenting bill … it’s been big on my heard, there are a lot of stories surrounding that, so I’m going to stay the course on that one,” he said.

Vellacott says he will continue to push for rights of unborn children and wants to keep working with women who have unplanned pregnancies.

“Standing alongside women, I certainly anticipate to do that in my two years remaining in this particular role and then beyond as well."

Vellacott made headlines earlier this year when he and two other MPs sent a letter to the RCMP asking them to investigate hundreds of abortions as possible homicides.

The prime minister told Parliament that whether those members like it or not, abortion is legal in Canada and his government has no intent to change the law.

By the time Vellacott's term ends in 2015, he will have spent 19 years in office.

He co-chaired the Parliamentary Pro-life Caucus for 10 years and founded the Canada-Turkey Friendship group.

(CKOM, The Canadian Press)