NDP MP Murray Rankin not running in 2019
NDP MP Murray Rankin stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Published Thursday, February 28, 2019 4:30PM EST
OTTAWA – British Columbia NDP MP Murray Rankin will not be running for re-election in 2019.
Rankin has been representing Victoria, B.C. since he was first elected in a 2012 byelection. He plans to keep his seat until the end of this Parliament, at which point he says he’s keen to do other things.
"It has been the most rewarding, exciting thing I've ever done, serving as an MP… people writing an 'X' beside your name is something that will live with you forever, " Rankin told CTVNews.ca "But I never expected I would do it for the remainder of my career."
As for what he plans to do next, he was recently appointed by the government of British Columbia to work as the province's representative in treaty renegotiations with the Wet'suwe''en First Nation as the two sides seek to affirm the rights and title of the Wet'suwet'en people.
Rankin worked for the federal government as a treaty negotiator for years, as well as a lawyer for various Indigenous communities and he thinks he is in a good position to understand both sides through this reconciliation process.
"I want to try to make a contribution in my own way," Rankin said. This is in addition to his plans to keep up on other legal matters, including the ongoing fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is strongly opposed in his riding.
Rankin shot down any question that his departure has to do with the current state of the NDP, amid low polling numbers and fundraising troubles.
"It's simply not the case," Rankin said. "I think it's time for a fresh look."
His departure makes it at least a dozen NDP MPs who have announced they will not be running again, some of which have already vacated their seats. He said this wave of departures allows for party "renewal."
He said he is optimistic that the party is "turning around" now that leader Jagmeet Singh has clinched a seat in the House. Rankin predicted that once Canadians can see him in the Commons the party’s fortunes will "dramatically improve."
During his time on Parliament Hill, Rankin has sat on the House Finance Committee, House Health Committee, the special committee tasked with physician-assisted dying, and is a part of the House Justice Committee that is currently probing the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
He's also been the NDP House leader, and is the sole and first NDP MP on the top-secret National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.
Over the last few months he's been pushing the government to pursue expungements for people with past pot possession charges, and not simply pardons, as Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is poised to table imminently. He has presented a private member's bill to this effect and condemned the Liberals' plan as a "half-measure." He said he'll see what the bill that Goodale ends up introducing contains, but he’s planning on being disappointed.
Rankin voiced appreciation for the support of his wife, Linda Hannah, and two adult children during his many years of splitting his time between the West Coast and Ottawa.
He is planning on helping his successor campaign in the fall to try to ensure that his riding stays orange. His advice for that person: "Work across party lines as well as you can, save partisan activity for when it’s truly warranted, but don’t forget who sent you there."