VANCOUVER- NDP stalwart Libby Davies announced Friday she will not seek re-election next year.
After 40 years in public life, both as an MP and city councillor, the veteran Vancouver MP said: "It just felt like it's time to call it a day.''
The 61-year-old has represented the riding of Vancouver East since 1997, winning six consecutive federal elections.
Her decision is a blow for New Democrats.
She has been a standard-bearer for the left wing of the party and a staunch supporter of the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel.
There has been some speculation that her position on Palestine put her at odds with Tom Mulcair, who has taken a more pro-Israeli stance since becoming NDP leader almost three years ago.
Davies denied there is any friction between her and Mulcair, whom she has served as deputy leader and health critic.
"He has my wholehearted support, he always has, and we work very well together,'' she said in an interview.
"I've been very proud to be part of his caucus and his team. So, I'm there for him and I will continue to be there for him and do everything I can to help (the NDP win the next election).''
Eighteen years of flying between Vancouver and Ottawa every week when the House of Commons is sitting has been gruelling for Davies, especially since she's something of a white-knuckle flyer.
"That's actually one regret I won't have,'' she said of the weekly flights.
That said, she added: "I love my job. I mean I totally love it ... I have no regrets that way. I mean, I've just loved every day being an MP.''
Her full statement:
After almost 40 years of public service and elected office, it's time for me to call it a day. I have worked hard as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East for the last 18 years and I know it's time for me to pass the torch. I will not be seeking re-election in the next federal election.
It has been the most extraordinary experience to represent the people of Vancouver East. I have loved my work both in the community and in Ottawa and I thank the good folks of east Vancouver who elected me six times as their representative.
Over the years, I have taken on tough issues like the need for drug policy reform and I remember being told, “You'll never get re-elected if you take on issues like this.” But the people of east Vancouver have stood by me. I deeply appreciate how they have placed their support and confidence in me throughout my many years in office.
I am tremendously proud of the work that I have been able to accomplish as part of the NDP team, and to have served as House Leader and Deputy Leader.
I am confident it will be a another New Democrat from Vancouver East who will join Tom Mulcair in Ottawa after the next federal election and, with such a strong team and experienced and committed leader, we will form the first federal social democratic government in Canada’s history.
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