Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna has decided not to run again.
His surprise move opens up a first-rate political area that could become a launching pad for former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney if he decides to run for the Liberals in the next election.
McKenna has held Ottawa Center, a riding that encompasses Parliament Hill, since 2015, when she alienated it from the New Democrats.
Carney did not pledge to run but did pledge in April, during his political debut at the Liberal Party virtual convention, to do whatever he can to support the party.
McKenna is due to hold a press conference Monday to announce his decision to step down in the next election, but a pre-copy of his remarks was obtained by The Canadian Press on Sunday.
“When I entered politics eight years ago, I made two simple promises to myself: always fight for what I believe in and leave when I would have done what I wanted to do in politics”, can one read in the speech.
McKenna, shown in a transit garage in Ottawa on March 4, informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of his decision to retire on Sunday. She offered to continue serving as Minister of Infrastructure until a federal election is called. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press)
She says she wants to spend more time with her three children and devote her professional energies to the fight against climate change.
“Like many Canadians, living with COVID-19 for a very long time has made me step back and think about what matters most to me. And that’s two things: my children and climate change. ”
McKenna informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of his decision on Sunday. She offered to continue serving as Minister of Infrastructure until a federal election is called.
All parties say they do not want to go to the polls during the pandemic, but all are feverishly preparing for one, as Trudeau increasingly appears to be laying the groundwork to unplug his minority government this summer.
Introduced the price of carbon as Minister of the Environment
As Trudeau’s Environment Minister during his first term, McKenna led the introduction of the Liberal government’s National Climate Change Action Plan, which included a price tag on emissions from carbon.
The carbon price – or “tax,” as the Conservatives call it – has been fiercely opposed by the provincial governments of Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, who have challenged its constitutionality in court. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in March that it was constitutional.
McKenna has become a lightning rod for climate opposition, enduring misogynistic slurs and threats on social media and in graffiti scrawled across his constituency office. Police were called to investigate last summer after someone yelled obscenities at one of McKenna’s employees, whose video was posted on social media.
In the text of her remarks for Monday’s announcement, McKenna specifically addresses young girls who are wondering if politics is for them.
“Do it. And when you do, don’t be afraid to run like a girl. I’ll be there to cheer you on,” she said.
“Get into politics to do something, never to be anything. There are a lot of things not to like about this business, but you can make a bigger difference in the lives of more people than you can. elsewhere.”
Trudeau moved McKenna to the infrastructure post after the 2019 election. That decision, among others, put him in charge of funding green projects to help Canada meet its emission reduction targets.
But it seems McKenna has failed to be at the heart of the fight against climate change.
“This is a critical year for climate action in the most important decade that will decide whether we can save the only planet we have,” she said, explaining her decision not to run again.
“I want to spend my working hours making sure we do it.”