The Okanagan-Coquihalla will elect a new representative MP in the next federal election.
After close to 25 years in politics, including over a decade representing the riding, Stockwell Day, 60, won’t seek re-election.
The Conservative MP and cabinet minister said he and his wife, Valorie, came to the decision after “prayerful consideration.”
“Along with memories which I will forever cherish, I will also forever carry a debt of unrepayable gratitude to so many people,” said Day.
“To my wife, who more than any person on earth is responsible for each and every success I have been allowed to experience.
“Her unlimited inner strength, unfailing love and untold reserves of grace have seen us through the most incredible challenges and the most wonderful breakthroughs.”
Day entered politics as a Progressive Conservative MLA for Red Deer North in Alberta in 1986.
He entered the province’s cabinet four years later under former premier Ralph Klein holding a number of positions including treasurer, instituting a flat tax.
In 2000, Day beat out Reform Party founder Preston Manning to lead the newly formed Canadian Alliance Party. Day won the Okanagan-Coquihalla seat shortly after in a byelection—infamously arriving to his first news conference on a Jet Ski—before going on to win the seat in four consecutive federal elections garnering a politically-impressive overall average of about 54.38 per cent of votes cast.
In 2002, Day was replaced by Stephen Harper as leader of the Alliance which eventually gave way to the revamped Conservative Party.
Of Harper’s leadership as prime minister, Day said: “His belief and insistence within his caucus that every MP must be allowed equal ground to speak up vigorously for their constituents is the foundation of decision making upon which we develop the policies for our nation.”
Day said he has no plans to leave the Okanagan once he has finished representing its residents.
“This is paradise. My wife has said if I ever think of moving, I will be moving alone. So, I think I better plan to stick around.”
Bruce Walkinshaw is a Capital News contributor.