Liberal MPs Karen McCrimmon, Adam Vaughan and Will Amos said Sunday they will not run again in the next federal election.
McCrimmon has served as parliamentary secretary to several ministers since her election in Kanata—Carleton in 2015, and is the chair of the parliamentary committee on national defence.
First elected in a 2014 byelection in the now defunct riding of Trinity—Spadina, Vaughan currently represents Spadina—Fort York and serves as parliamentary secretary to the minister of families, children and social development.
Will Amos has represented the Quebec riding of Pontiac since 2015. He was parliamentary secretary to the minister of innovation, science and industry from 2019 until earlier this year, when he stepped down after two incidents during hybrid sessions of the House of Commons, one in which he was caught on camera naked and another in which he said he “urinated without realizing (he) was on camera.”
After the second incident, Amos said he would step away from his parliamentary duties and seek assistance.
Amos said in a statement Sunday he was “not closing the door to politics” but that now was not the right time to run for re-election.
“Politics is a beautiful and tough profession. But it is not the only means by which progressive, transformative change can be achieved to move our society forward,” he wrote.
Amos won convincing victories in 2015 and 2019 in a riding that is often considered a bellwether in Canadian politics.
Amos’s statement came a short time after Karen McCrimmon tweeted her own announcement that she would not reoffer.
She said on Twitter she was facing health challenges and would not be running again, calling the news “disappointing.” She added that the timing was “undeniably difficult” but noted that she “was not in any way pushed to make this decision.”
I am facing some health challenges which, though not insurmountable, will demand my ongoing effort and attention. Consequently, I cannot stand for re-election as your Member of Parliament.
“It is a painful realization that I cannot continue to serve you in the manner you so rightfully deserve and to the standard that I have always striven to achieve,” she wrote.
McCrimmon kept her suburban Ottawa riding solidly red over the past two elections, in an area that was largely Conservative territory prior to redistribution of seats in 2012. She also participated in the Liberals’ 2013 leadership race.
The news of Amos, McCrimmon and Vaughan’s withdrawals come ahead of a widely anticipated election call later this summer. They join nine other Liberal MPs who have already announced they will not be running again.
‘I’ve done as much as I think I can do’: Vaughan
CBC News reported earlier Sunday Vaughan would not be running in his downtown Toronto riding.
“First and foremost it’s a family decision,” he said in an interview. Vaughan also said that turning 60 this year made him reflect on the stresses of life as a parliamentarian.
“It’s not a job you can do at half-speed. When I looked at the term ahead and the work that is still to be done, I thought, ‘I’ve done as much as I think I can do.'”
“As my mother once told me, when you feel like you’ve run out of steam and out of fire, it’s time to get out of the way and let someone else with the passion to be on the floor of Parliament or the office that you hold, to let them take that spot,” Vaughan said.
He said he had notified Prime Minister Justin Trudeau several months ago that he would not be seeking re-election.
The Liberal MP first won a seat in Parliament in 2014 after a byelection in the downtown Toronto riding of Trinity—Spadina, which was scrubbed from the electoral map after redistribution.
He has represented Spadina—Fort York since 2015, when he defeated NDP candidate Olivia Chow by a comfortable margin. He easily held the seat in 2019.
Vaughan says he won’t run for office elsewhere
Vaughan also ruled out running for office at any other level of government, including for mayor of Toronto when that city holds its municipal elections next year.
“I think I’ll leave it to the city to choose its next generation of leaders, and if I can support them I will,” he said.
“But the idea of running for another term of office in another level of government is not in the cards. It’s time for a new chapter.”
Vaughan said he was looking forward to revisiting, in some capacity, old projects he had envisioned during his years as a Toronto city councillor from 2006-14, such as the revitalization of city parks and other spaces.
He also said he had a “wicked” collection of cartoons that he’d never published. Vaughan was a cartoonist before working as a journalist for various outlets including the CBC.
Reflections on 7 years in Parliament
Vaughan said he was proud of the work he and the government had done around affordable housing and poverty reduction.
He also reflected on his years as an MP, saying there was too much of a partisan atmosphere in the House that got in the way of good policy.
“And this is coming from someone who’s had as much fun as anybody heckling,” he said, while emphasizing an equal focus on policymaking.
“Politics works better when it’s collaborative and when we meet together on common ground, instead of always looking for the battleground.”
Vaughan said he was looking forward to seeing what a new generation of politicians would be able to do in federal politics, pointing to work done by ministers Ahmed Hussen, Maryam Monsef, Karina Gould and fellow MP Marci Ien.
The MP said he would continue to make government announcements focused on housing as part of his role as parliamentary secretary.
“There is still work to do.”
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OTTAWA — When three Conservative leadership hopefuls met this past week for a debate, the same word kept getting repeated.
Unity. Or more precisely, the need for it.
In a contest largely seen as a battle for the party’s soul, which has put decades-old fissures on display between groups that make up its very coalition, what might it take to achieve unity after results are revealed Sept. 10?
As that question lingers, many in the party and beyond are preparing for a scenario in which Pierre Poilievre takes victory.
Much of that thinking is based on the longtime MP’s popularity with the existing grassroots, coupled with his ability to draw big crowds and sell what his campaign claims to have been more than 300,000 memberships.
But after winning comes the challenge of leading.
“Somebody has to give some thought to the morning after,” said Garry Keller, former chief of staff to Rona Ambrose, who served as the party’s interim leader after it lost government in 2015.
Of the 118 other members in caucus, a whopping 62 endorsed Poilievre. That’s compared to the party’s 2020 leadership race when the caucus was more evenly split between Peter MacKay and the eventual winner, Erin O’Toole.
O’Toole’s inability to manage caucus after losing the 2021 election to the Liberals ultimately led to his downfall. He was forced out by a vote from his MPs under provisions in the Reform Act, measures which will remain in place for the next leader.
Poilievre has said his campaign message of “freedom” serves as a great unifier among Conservatives. However, Keller said if some in caucus are taking that to mean they will be able to say whatever they want on social media, they shouldn’t.
“I think people will be solely disabused of that notion.”
Poilievre and his supporters have throughout the race been accused of sowing disunity in the party by instigating personal attacks against rivals, namely ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest.
Most recently, MPs endorsing Poilievre — along with Scott Aitchison, a rural Ontario representative and fellow leadership competitor — have called into question whether Charest, who has spent the past 20 years out of federal politics, plans to stick around the party after the race is over.
Longtime British Columbia MP Ed Fast, a co-chair on Charest’s campaign, tweeted “the purity tests must stop” and cautioned party members that when Conservatives are divided, Liberals win.
Fast himself resigned from his role as finance critic after criticizing Poilievre’s vow to fire the Bank of Canada governor, which ruffled some feathers inside caucus.
“It’s a sad situation that Jean Charest, a patriot and champion of Canadian unity, continues to have his loyalty questioned by party members looking to stoke division,” said Michelle Coates Mather, a spokeswoman for his campaign.
“What’s the endgame here exactly? Lose the next federal election by alienating Conservative members who support Charest? Seems a poor strategy for a party looking to expand their base and win a federal election.”
While Poilievre enjoys the majority support of the party’s caucus, most of the party’s 10 Quebec MPs are backing Charest, opening the question of what happens next if he is not successful.
Asked recently about that possibility, MP Alain Rayes, who is organizing on Charest’s campaign, expressed confidence in the former Quebec premier’s chances, saying the party doesn’t need “American-style divisive politics.”
“I’m deeply convinced that our members will make the right choice,” he said in a statement.
The group Centre Ice Conservatives, a centre-right advocacy group formed during the leadership race, contends the party has room to grow if it leaves the fringes and concentrates on issues that matter in the mainstream.
Director Michael Stuart says both Charest and Poilievre have policies that speak to the centrists, and what they’re hearing from supporters of their group is a desire for more focus on “dinner table issues,” such as economic growth and jobs.
“There’s a lot of distraction with noise around vaccines and the convoy and those sorts of things.”
Not only did Poilievre support the “Freedom Convoy,” he used his message of “freedom” to campaign on the anger and frustration people felt because of government-imposed COVID-19 rules, like vaccine and mask mandates.
How he will handle social conservatives also remains an open question.
Poilievre has pledged no government led by him would introduce or pass legislation restricting abortion access.
Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for the anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition, said many of those who strongly oppose vaccine mandates also share values with social conservatives.
“They are largely pro-freedom, pro-family, and yes, even pro-life and pro-faith,” he said.
Social conservatives have traditionally been a well-mobilized part of the party’s base during leadership contests and helped deliver wins for O’Toole and former leader Andrew Scheer, who is now helping Poilievre in the race.
While Fonseca and other anti-abortion groups are encouraging members to pick social conservative candidate Leslyn Lewis as their first choice, he said the “freedom conservatives” Poilievre recruited will expect results.
That includes giving Lewis a critic role, he said.
“He will be forced to face that reality and to deliver policy commitments to the freedom conservatives and social conservatives that are his base.”
“If it doesn’t, the peril is you become a flip-flopper like Erin O’Toole,” he said, referring to walk-backs the former leader made on promises after winning the leadership.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 7, 2022.
Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
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