Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna says her decision not to run again in a federal election was a “difficult” one and that while she plans to take the summer to weigh her next move, her focus will be on working to keep fighting climate change.
McKenna spoke with reporters alongside the Rideau Canal pathway in downtown Ottawa, which is part of the Ottawa Centre federal riding she won away from the NDP in 2015.
She shut down speculation that she is eyeing a possible run in the Ottawa mayoral race, saying her decision comes after reflections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a difficult decision but it’s the right one for me and my family, and it’s the right time to make it,” she said. “Like many Canadians, living through COVID-19 over a very long year made me step back and reflect on what matters to me most. It was quite simple, two things: my kids and climate change.”
McKenna was also asked about speculation that her decision could be part of a bid to get former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney to run for the Liberals in a possible upcoming election.
She said that was not part of her decision, but added she thinks Carney would be good in politics.
“I’ve been telling him for years he should get into politics,” she said, raising the oft-repeated Liberal refrain that the economy and environment “go hand in hand.”
“Mark Carney’s a good friend of mine. I think he could make a big difference.”
Ottawa Centre is prime political real estate and while not a traditionally safe Liberal seat, it is one where the party is competitive and where McKenna succeeded in taking the seat from the NDP in 2015 and holding it with nearly 50 per cent of the vote in 2019.
The riding encompasses Parliament Hill and central Ottawa, and is home to both a large proportion of federal public servants as well as students at three local universities.
Carney has not committed to running but promised in April, during his political debut at the Liberal party’s virtual convention, to do whatever he can to support the party.
—With files from The Canadian Press.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.