MP Chuck Strahl takes a phone call on election night

Strahl says he won’t seek re-election

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Chuck Strahl brought down the curtain Saturday on a long and remarkable political career.

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Chuck Strahl brought down the curtain Saturday on a long and remarkable political career.

“There’s no particular reason, I’ve just done my time,” Strahl told The Progress Saturday morning, following his decision not to run for re-election.

A former logger, Strahl was first elected 17 years ago in 1993 under the Reform Party banner.

He quickly earned a reputation as an affable and “decent” politician, but also as an effective and popular one, winning each subsequent re-election in the riding by wide and comfortable margins.

Touted at one point as a rival of Stephen Harper’s for leadership of the new Conservative Party, he eventually stepped aside, yet was still entrusted by the new prime minister with several high-profile cabinet positions, including Indian Affairs.

This respect came even after Strahl had earlier led a group of dissident Reform Party MPs who sat as an independent caucus in parliament, talking with former Prime Minister Joe Clark about a conservative alliance.

But eventually a transformed Reform Party merged with the former Progressive Conservatives to form the new Conservative Party under Harper.

Strahl told The Progress that the lung cancer he was diagnosed with in 2005 had nothing to do “thank goodness” with his decision to leave politics.

In fact, he added, he was encouraged when Prime Minister Harper told him there was no reason, given his past work performance, for him not to remain in the cabinet as the new transportation minister following a recent cabinet shuffle.

Strahl is not resigning, so he will continue as MP for the riding and as the transportation minister until the next federal election is called.

Strahl said he came into politics “highly-motivated” and still enjoys the job, “but the party’s over.”

He said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Deb, their four children and ten grandchildren.

“I vowed I would leave politics one day with the one thing that mattered most when I entered into it – the love and respect of those closest to me,” Strahl said in a statement.

“Thanks to Deb (mostly) and the rest of the family, that’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s my life’s greatest accomplishment.”

Fellow Conservative MPs John Cummins (Delta-Richmond East) and Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla) also announced Saturday that they will not seek re-election.

Political pundits have described the departure of the trio of veteran B.C. politicians as “clearing the deck” for a more Ontario-centric party in anticipation of an election that could come by the end of the month.

Just Posted

After 30 years, Agassiz’s Miss Marge set to retire from Variety Play

From 1989 to today, Miss Marge has taken generations of kids through the district play program

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

Summer service by bus from Chilliwack to Cultus Lake starting soon

Seasonal change will see bus service from Vedder Road to Cultus elementary until Labour Day

Chilliwack trustees divided on Trans Mountain pipeline route near two schools

School district will pen letter to NEB to ask for re-routing away from schools to be considered

Agassiz RCMP finally able to get outdoor picnic table

Funds from Harrison and Kent will allow the detachment to purchase the outdoor seating area

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

Canada’s commitment is to cut emissions to 70 per cent of what they were in 2005 before 2030

PHOTOS: Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa is gone

The Conservative Member of Parliament and long-time community advocate died in hospice this morning

Victoria double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst found no shoe prints on scene

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Channel your inner pirate in epic Canada-wide treasure hunt

200 treasure chests hidden among trails and waterways, lots of prizes to be claimed

Most Read