03/10/2014 09:51 EDT | Updated 05/10/2014 05:59 EDT

Laurie Hawn, Veteran Conservative MP, Won't Seek Re-Election


EDMONTON - A veteran Conservative MP from Edmonton says he won't seek re-election.

Laurie Hawn says he will continue serving the Edmonton Centre riding until the next federal election and then retire from politics. The former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot has represented the area since 2006.

"It's just time," Hawn told a CHED radio talk show Monday. "When I got into it back then, my aim was to serve for eight to 10 years.

"When October 2015 comes around, it will be nine years and nine months. I'm not comparing myself to the Great One, but 99 is always a good Edmonton number," he said, referring to the number Wayne Gretzky wore when he played for the National Hockey League Oilers.

Hawn, 66, said he wants to spend more time with his family.

During his time in office, he spent 3 1/2 years as parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence and served on a number of committees.

Hawn has said one of the high points of his time as an MP was visiting Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan.

Last fall, he defended the federal government against criticism of how it treats injured military veterans and of its decision to close nine of 60 Veterans Affairs Canada offices across the country.

"I am one of the 89 per cent of Canada’s veterans who do not need and have not asked for any services. If I need services, I will ask, and I will get served," he wrote in a comment piece in the National Post last November.

"Veterans do not have to drive hours for service: doctors, nurses and case workers will come to the veteran if they are seriously injured."

He also said in the same piece that critics were disregarding the improvements the government made to the New Veterans Charter in 2011 that "created two new significant monthly financial payments to the most seriously injured veterans."

He concluded by saying that rehabilitation and transition must be the focus and the government "must be there for those veterans who are the most seriously injured."

On Monday, Hawn said he has no doubt that veterans will continue to be well served.

"There are challenges there which I've talked about ... but whoever replaces me will be part of a team that will bring it all together."

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