01/13/2015 11:36 EST | Updated 03/15/2015 05:59 EDT

Tory MP Joy Smith leaving Winnipeg riding, Jeff Browaty eyes seat

Conservative MP Joy Smith announced she will not be seeking re-election in her Kildonan St. Paul riding in Winnipeg.

“To tell you the truth, I just think it’s the right time,” she said. “I want to do travelling. You have to be very careful when you travel, to be back in Parliament for the votes, and it’s restrictive in that sense. I think it’s very important that I have that flexibility.”

She made the announcement from her office on Henderson Highway Tuesday morning, saying she wants to focus on combating human trafficking, her focus during much of her time in office, outside of Parliament.

“I’ll be working on my charity, the Joy Smith Foundation. The foundation itself is actually saving lives, and I’m just completing a book right now, and I think I could do more for the most vulnerable outside of Parliament, rather than inside Parliament,” said Smith.

During her announcement she repeatedly referred to the constraints of the position preventing her from doing the level of activism she wanted to do for victims of human trafficking.

“I really want to continue to make an impact on Canada that’s meaningful,” said Smith, who plans to travel across Canada to help train police officers and educate Canadians about human trafficking.

The long-time Tory MP has held the spot since 2004, and won the 2011 election handily, with 58 per cent of the vote.

“I think any candidate who comes forward is going to have to work very hard. I worked very hard,” she said. “I’ve built up Kildonan-St. Paul. It’s different right now than when I started.”

Smith said she plans to publish a book on human trafficking in late February or early March titled I Didn’t Know.

She said the constraints of being a member of parliament meant turning down speaking engagements and education opportunities.

During her time as an MP she passed multiple bills related to human trafficking including mandatory minimum sentences for offenders.

Winnipeg city councillor eyes job

Winnipeg City Coun. Jeff Browaty (Kildonan ward) quickly announced his interest in running for the Tories in the riding minutes after Smith's announcement. 

“I’m definitely interested in the opportunity of running,” said Browaty, who is a card-carrying member of the federal Conservatives.

Browaty would have to go through the Conservative nomination process, and he said he still plans to consult with his wife.

As for why he wanted to run Browaty said, “We see the problems at the municipal level. A lot of it is because of our relationships with the higher orders of government … A lot of the opportunities for funding and a lot of the other bigger issues come from the other levels of government.”

The North Kildonan ward councillor said he had already consulted with the city clerk’s office and planned to talk to Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman later Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the federal Liberals have announced MaryAnn Mihychuk will represent them for Kildonan St. Paul.

Mihychuk is a long-time Manitoba MLA and has already been out campaigning ahead of October’s election.