POLITICS

Frank Valeriote: 'You can't be a part-time MP'

11/17/2014 12:29 EST | Updated 01/17/2015 05:59 EST
As other MPs gear up for the next federal election, Guelph Liberal MP Frank Valeriote will not run again because, he says, he wants to spend more time with his children.

Valeriote has held his seat for the last six years and serves as the deputy whip for the Liberal caucus. He says he can no longer balance the demands of being an MP and being a father. 

"Well the fact is that my marital circumstances changed about a year ago," said Valeriote in an interview with The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Monday. 

"You can delude yourself that your children aren't being affected by your absence from the home, week after week after week, but they are and it's important I give them my attention. I want a meaningful relationship with them through their teen years," he said. 

Instead, Valeriote says he is likely going to return to the law firm he co-founded, Smith Valeriote LLP, and continue work on a project in South Sudan to build a skills training school there.

"It was terribly difficult decision to be candid because you feel an incredible sense of duty to the community, to the country, you're working on issues, veterans issues, policy and platform as we enter the next election, I've got a private member's bill to get through still, it's going towards its third reading," said Valeriote.

Valeriote's bill would designate Service Canada as the sole government agency next of kin must notify in the case of a death. 

"You think about all of those things that you're working on, and then you face your children every weekend, and even on weekends you're away so much of the time, every single MP works so hard," said Valeriote.

According to Valeriote he made the decision in May. He said he also had a conversation with Justin Trudeau in August and the Liberal leader asked him to reconsider and offered to help figure out a solution, but Valeriote said it didn't sway him.

"I just decided you can't be a part-time MP. You have to be a full-time MP or alternatively, try and parent in a community where more routine can be established," he said. 

Valeriote says he's confident Guelph won't elect a Conservative MP in the next election, and said that people there would vote strategically. 

"Guelph is primarily a very progressive, progressive community," he said, noting he is "reasonably confident" the election will take place in the fall.