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Richard Cannings to leave MP role, politics in 2025

Author, biologist, cyclist, fiddle player and Member of Parliament for South Okanagan -- West Kootenay Richard Cannings announced Tuesday he'll not seek re-election in 2025.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Richard Cannings at the podium

And yes, admitted the 69-year-old resident of the West Beach region just northwest of Penticton, the decision was predicated on his desire to spend more time doing all the stuff you can’t do when you have an all-consuming job.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>Cannings at home

"Yes, I'm totally fine," he laughed when contacted by PentictonNow. "I'm just of an age where, well, let's put it this way: My wife (climate change activist Margaret Holm) has been retired for five years and is wondering when I’d do the same so we could actually have a life together.

"We often chuckle at politicians who retire saying they want to spend more time with family, when it's actually the real reason most of the time. When this is all over I'll be 70 or 71, and I think it's time to let someone else do the job."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> A moment of calm on election night

Cannings called his time as MP "the most wonderful job" he could imagine.

"It's challenging and it's interesting," he said. "Never a dull moment, and I still enjoy it. But it’s time to step back.

<who>Photo Credit: Richard Cannings</who> With wife Margaret at home during COVID

"We have an acre of land on the West Bench and it takes a lot of work to keep that in shape. I feel guilty when I come home every second weekend and try to mow a lawn or rake up pine needles or do all those things that have to be done.

"So it's time for me to put in my fair share of work here and also have time to go camping and hiking with Margaret."

He might even buy an e-bike, he speculated, though he's still quite capable of riding long distances on his oldie but goodie acoustic bike.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

He's also not giving up playing the fiddle. He's pretty good at it.

And we suspect we certainly haven't seen the last of him at protest gatherings and rallies across the city and region. Indeed, he's been known to combine the two interests -- as the photo below proves.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

During his time as MP, Cannings has championed environmental stewardship and social equality. And certainly his office's Tuesday media release indicates just that.

"Cannings’ successes," it says, "include adoption of his Use of Wood in Federal Infrastructure bill that significantly supports the mass timber industry in our riding; his work on the excise tax exemption in support of local beverage producers; significant work to win meaningful action to tackle climate change, including accelerated measures for emission reductions, just transition legislation and real action to phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel sector.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Hoisted at rally by Jagmeet Singh

"Cannings has also worked to secure better protection for species at risk and enhance protection of lakes and rivers in BC."

And now the process of finding a new NDP candidate in South Okanagan -- West Kootenay begins. Indeed, said Cannings, he timed his announcement to give that process some time to unfold.

"This is a big riding," he said. "Candidates have to go around to the Kootenays and Boundary and talk to members of the party and convince them.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

"For me, that's an important process. It teaches you a lot about the riding and the issues."

But will we see Cannings re-emerge on another political stage? Not likely.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Toasting election victory

"I have no plans to seek election at any other level," he said, effectively putting an end to any such speculation.

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