After thirteen years representing the federal riding of Nanaimo-Alberni, Conservative MP James Lunney says he will not seek re-election in 2015.
Lunney made the announcement at his Nanaimo constituency office Friday morning. He told reporters that a deciding factor was the fact that the riding he has represented for more than a decade is set to be split into two new ridings for the 2015 federal election.
The change to Lunney's riding is part of recommendations put forward by the independent B.C. Commission for the Redistribution of Federal Electoral Districts. The commission recommended that a new riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith be created by lumping north Nanaimo and Lantzville - which both currently fall into Lunney's riding - in
with the City of Nanaimo and Ladysmith to make a new, urban constituency.
The other half of Lunney's riding would be combined with the City of Courtenay to form the new riding of Courtenay-Alberni.
Running for re-election would mean choosing between the two ridings, a choice Lunney said he was not prepared to make.
"If I choose 'A' over 'B,' or 'B' over 'A,' it will, of necessity, divide my attentions and divert them disproportionately to one side or the other and beyond for the next two years," Lunney said.
Lunney had previously raised concerns about how the boundary changes would affect his riding.
"I have wrestled with this and looked at it through different sides, upside down, backwards, inside-out and how this would work for me if I were to choose 'A' over 'B' or 'B' over 'A,' and I've come to the conclusion that I'm ... either unwilling or unable to resolve that conflict of interest that would require my attentions being diverted.
"Therefore I've chosen that I will not seek re-election in 2015, I will focus my attentions for the next two years on the people that I'm mandated to serve in Nanaimo-Alberni ..." he added.
"It'll be 15 years for me (in 2015). I think if this redistribution had come earlier, you know,
I might have found it easier to detach, but I'm actually very attached to the people and the communities I've been working for these years." Lunney said he will instead step aside and lend his efforts to help new Conservative candidates seek election in the new ridings.
Lunney was first elected in 2000 under the banner of the Canadian Alliance, the predecessor to the Conservative Party.
He will retire from Parliament with a $75,000 per year, indexed pension, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. The federal riding changes also splits the current Nanaimo-Cowichan riding held by NDP MP Jean Crowder. Her office said Friday that Crowder has not yet made a decision as to her political future.
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