Rachel Blaney will not seek reelection in 2025

After close to a decade as the Member of Parliament for North Island-Powell River, Rachel Blaney announced that she will not run in the next Federal Election.

“It was a very hard decision to make but, sadly, I have family issues that have come to the forefront. I recognize that time is precious and this is a long commute back and forth, so I’m happy to be able to continue until 2025 and stay till the next election . Going past that would have meant missing precious time with someone I love greatly, so I had to make a very hard and bittersweet decision,” she explained.

“I’m not gone yet. I know that I’ve had to make this announcement, but I’m still here and I’m going to still keep working as hard as I can. I stepped down as the whip in Ottawa, because I really wanted to make sure that for the remaining time that I have in parliament, I have more time for my loved ones. I also need to make sure I finish some of the things I really want to get done, both in my critic roles and in the riding.”

“If you need help, I’m still the office to call and I’m so grateful. People come to our office all the time for help, and we’re able to help most of the time. That has been an amazing feeling for me, to hear people give us such positive feedback about helping them navigate the federal systems that are sometimes very difficult to navigate.”

Cortes Currents: I don’t know who’s going to be the next NDP candidate but they’re not going to be as popular as you are right now. Do you have any thoughts on that?  

Rachel Blaney: “Well, thank-you for saying that I’m popular and I want to thank the constituency. Everywhere I go, people are so positive. What I prided myself on being able to do is be clear on the partisan issues that I believe in, but try to be practical about how those things roll out in our communities.” 

“Understand that we do have a unique riding, and it’s been my pleasure to make sure that that voice is heard.  I will see what happens during the next election. I believe that a lot of people, and I hear this a lot, are feeling connected to the NDP in a new way. They see that we actually were able to deliver on the things we campaigned on. People have talked to me about how amazing it feels to finally be able to get dental care. I knew it would have a big impact, but it had more of an impact than I thought. I’ve just had a lot of people stopping me in every place that you can imagine, talking about how good it feels to see the beginning of a national pharmacare program, and that their diabetes medication and devices are being covered.”

“I hope that constituents understand that I worked very hard to make those things a reality and I’ll continue to work hard until 2025, because I believe in our region. I hope that they put trust in the NDP as a brand and the amazing person that I know will come from this riding to step forward in the NDP position for the next campaign.”

Cortes Currents: What are your thoughts, as you look back to close to a decade, as our MP?  

Rachel Blaney: “It’s been precious time, I have to say it’s been a hard job.  We have the third largest riding in British Columbia, and our riding has people spread out everywhere, they’re not centralized. It’s one of the things I love about the riding because I get to go to some of the most amazing and beautiful places.”

“When I look back, I’m really proud of the ability to work together. I’m proud of the fact that we’ve seen a lot more money coming into the riding than we saw with the previous MP.”

“I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve found creative ways to work with people across the board in different positions.  I really hope that we come back to that. One of the things that I’ve found very sad in the last few years is how oppositionally positioned people are becoming.”

“One of the things I do love about our riding is even when we have different opinions, if there’s things that we believe in, we come together and we work together.  I can see some of that starting to fall apart. I hope people remember we can have a difference of opinion, but we can still find ways to work together – even on hard, hard issues.”

“I’m reflective of how hard it’s been in our riding since I was elected, even before. Fish Farms came to mind, people were really divided about this issue, but there have been places where we’ve been able to come together and try to move towards solutions.  I think being clear in your position, but open to conversation is something that I’ve tried my best to do and I hope to see that continue.”

“When I look back, I’m very grateful for the times that people have shared things that are incredibly personal with me.  I think about the time where I was able to fight for seniors and get the GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement)  clawback returned to so many seniors across Canada.  It was really meaningful for me. I think about the work that I’ve done around weather stations, which we know in our ridung continues to be an ongoing issue. People on the water need to know what the weather is. It needs to be localized. I’m still working on that.”

“There’s definitely some things that you push for a long time and other things that you get done quicker, but  what an honour and I’m really happy that I get to continue doing it till 2025. It’s nice to have time to finish up some of the things that I’m really passionate about.” 

“One of those things that I’m really working on right now, of course, is for veterans and specifically women veterans. We just did  the biggest study that’s ever been done in Parliament and the first study that’s ever been done on women veterans.  We’re now in the process of reviewing it. I want to see that report finalized because for the first time in Canada, we’re going to have something that says, ‘this is where women who served our country are today, and this is where we want to see them later.’ You just can’t ever forget the poignancy of that and the importance of that work.”

Cortes Currents: Do you want to say a goodbye to your constituents?  

Rachel Blaney: “No, I don’t want to say goodbye yet. It’s not time. I still have too much to do. They have a long list of things that I’m still working on and I want to keep working on them.”

Top image credit: Question Period / Ottawa, Ontario, on 01 April, 2022. © HOC-CDC Credit: Christian Diotte, House of Commons Photo Services

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