March 4, 2013
By Kevin Weedmark
|Souris-Moose Mountain MP Ed Komarnicki|
Souris-Moose Mountain MP Ed Komarnicki has decided not to run in the next federal election, set for 2015.
Komarnicki was first elected in 2004, and will have served 11 years when the next federal election rolls around two years from now.
The MP says he has been thinking about whether to run again for the last few months, and once he made his decision, he wanted to make it public as early as possible.
"Souris-Moose Mountain is a very Conservative area, and I would think many people would be interested in running for the party," he told the World-Spectator Thursday.
"If I waited until the last minute to announce my intentions, it wouldn't be a good thing for our board or our party. I thought it would be best to make the announcement early, so anyone thinking about running has time to prepare."
He said he believes it is important for politicians to know when it's time to call it quits. "I think you have to figure out what your best-before date is," he said.
He said he enjoyed his years in Ottawa.
"I never really was a career politician, but I enjoyed what I did, and I'm proud of what I accomplished."
Komarnicki won a hard-fought nomination for the Conservative Party in 2004. He faced several opponents for the nomination, including former Premier Grant Devine, who was barred from the nomination by the Conservative Party part way through the race.
"The nomination was almost a bigger event than the election," Komarnicki says.
"I ran in '04, '06, '08, and '11, and although I thought I had it in me to run again, I thought that was enough. I fought a significant number of political battles in a short political career."
The MP said he had been interested in politics long before he ran for elected office.
"I always had an interest in politics from the outside," he said. "I was campaign manager for Len Gustafson on two campaigns, and I was interested in the evolution of Conservative politics. I always thought if the right could unite we could be successful and make some changes in Canadian politics."
There are some moments Komarnicki will always remember from his career in politics. "The definition of marriage was a big issue, and I'm glad I had my say on that. One of the highlights of my career was speaking on that issue. Unfortunately, in my mind, that vote went the wrong way."
He said the vote to end the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly and to end the long gun registry were two of his proudest moments.
"Some of the more touching moments in house were the apology to Chinese Canadians for the way they were treated, and the apology to First Nations. Having the opportunity to make speeches at critical times was a real honor. I think I carried the feelings of our riding to Ottawa. Whether we won or lost didn't matter as much as representing the opinions of my constituents."
Komarnicki says he worked hard to ensure that Souris-Moose Mountain communities received their share of infrastructure funding.
"Dealing with infrastructure in our constituency was a big job-trying to sort out the programs, trying to see how we could apply them to our constituency."
He said he learned to be patient in Ottawa. "The machinery of government works so slowly you sometimes wonder if it can work," he said.
He also learned to accept the decision of the political process, no matter what the outcome.
"Not everything goes the way you expect or you might like," he said. "In politics, you have to choose your battles.
"If you sense which way the wind is blowing, you can go a long way with the wind in your sails. If you try to go through a brick wall, you're going to get hurt.
"You have to work with what you have, and it may not always be the way you like."
Does he have any regrets?
"There are always issues you feel might have gone the other way," he says. "If I have any regrets it's not going farther, being more outspoken, on some issues."
Looking back over his career, Komarnicki believes the battle over the Canadian Wheat Board may have been the most important battle he fought.
"The CWB was a pitched battle, and there is no doubt that it was time for the monopoly to end. To have a piece of legislation preventing a farmer from selling something he produced himself without going through a government agency-it was time for it to go. I thought it was a proud moment to see that vestige of the past done away with."
Komarnicki says he expects a lot of interest in the Conservative nomination in Souris-Moose Mountain, which stretches across southeast Saskatchewan and includes Estevan, Weyburn and the Moosomin area.
"There will likely be a need for a candidate selection," he said. "I feel, with the decision made at this early stage, it will give everyone a chance to prepare, so the best person can come forward to advance the interests of this constituency."
Komarnicki is looking forward to retiring after the 2015 election.
"I still have a good two and a half years to represent Souris-Moose Mountain, so I won't look behind, I'll look ahead.
"I'll be 66 in 2015. I still have room for doing something, but I don't have any plans at this point."
What has he learned from his career in politics?
"I can say that politics takes a huge degree of energy that I might not have anticipated," he said.
"The work in Ottawa, the work in the constituency, the travel to and from the constituency-it's exhausting. There's a lot of separation from family. It's a pretty rigorous lifestyle, and after 11 years, I'll be ready for a break."
Komarnicki informed his constituency association of his decision last Saturday, and informed the Conservative caucus in Ottawa on Wednesday.
He said he enjoyed his time in politics. "I can say it's been a great experience for me and a great pleasure to represent the constituents of Souris-Moose Mountain, and to make specific representations on behalf of constituents.
"It has also been great to be a part of a government and to be involved in the many infrastructure investments throughout the constituency.
"I look forward to continuing to represent Souris–Moose Mountain until the next General Election. This is one of the great honors and privileges that I will always be thankful for."
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