05/01/2019 12:29 EDT | Updated 05/01/2019 12:33 EDT

Liberal MP Andrew Leslie Won't Run For Re-Election This Fall

The retired lieutenant-general was recruited by the Grits four years ago.

The Canadian Press
Andrew Leslie rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 27, 2018.

A retired lieutenant-general recruited as a star Liberal candidate four years ago will not run for re-election this fall.

Andrew Leslie, who represents the Ottawa riding of Orléans, also announced Wednesday that he is immediately stepping down from his role as parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs.

"For 40 years, I have served Canada both as a soldier and parliamentarian, and after careful consideration — while recovering from shoulder replacement surgery — I believe it is time for me to take a new path," Leslie said in a statement.

Leslie spent 35 years in the Canadian Forces and commanded troops in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia.

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Though seen as a possible defence minister when he joined the Liberal Party —both of his grandfathers served in that role for past Grit governments — Leslie was ultimately tapped to serve as chief government whip in 2015.

In 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau picked Leslie to serve as parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a shuffle sparked by the new U.S. administration of Donald Trump.

Trudeau said at the time that Leslie, who had developed connections with U.S. generals during his time in the military, had "the necessary relationships and experience to help establish a constructive dialogue with the new U.S. administration."

Fred Chartrand/CP
Justin Trudeau speaks with Andrew Leslie prior to a ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Oct. 22, 2015

Leslie said in his statement that it was "fascinating" to contribute to negotiations to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Meeting with many hundreds of American and Canadian industry leaders and elected officials on our mutual trading relationship was both educational and inspiring," he said. "Thank you for the opportunity to serve."

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The 61-year-old is the latest Liberal member of the "one and done" club: MPs elected in 2015 who are opting to serve a single term. Other Grits MPs in that boat include: Nova Scotia's Colin Fraser, New Brunswick's TJ Harvey, and Ontario MPs Kyle Peterson, Don Rusnak, and John Oliver.

Ontario MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who was first elected in 2015 but left the Liberal caucus in March, has also decided not to re-offer.

Leslie's news comes days after veteran N.S. Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of employment, announced he won't seek re-election.

Leslie defeated Tory MP Royal Galipeau in Orléans almost four years ago. Galipeau, who later died of cancer, had held the riding for nearly 10 years.

Canadians are set to head to the polls on Oct. 21.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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