London party

London-area MP Jeff Yurek to quit politics after 10 years

Former Ontario Cabinet Minister Jeff Yurek is stepping down from his London-area seat and will not be running in the June provincial election.

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The 10-year MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London, who plans to stay in office until the end of February, said on Friday his “time in public life has run its course” as he announces his departure brutal, just five months before the next Ontario election.

“This is something that I have discussed with my family over the past few months,” the Progressive Conservative MP said in an interview on Friday.

“As March and April approach, Queen’s Park will be focusing on exiting the next election campaign, and I think focusing the party on that is probably the best time to step away,” he said. he declared.

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Yurek thanked his team for their support and accomplishments over the past 10 years, including launching a provincial forestry strategy, expanding the Toronto subway system, and funding the London Bus Rapid Transit System, among others.

He also thanked his family, including his wife and daughter, as well as the constituents of Elgin-Middlesex-London.

“It has been an honor to serve (the residents of my constituency),” he said. “I’m pretty proud of the people I’ve represented. It has been a highlight of my life, and I look forward to being a strong member of our community and helping where I can move forward.

Yurek, 50, was a pharmacist before entering politics. He was first elected MLA for the constituency which includes South London, St. Thomas and Elgin County in 2011, replacing Liberal Steve Peters, who retired and went directly into Doug Ford’s cabinet after Ford brought the Tories back to power in 2018.

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Yurek was first Ford’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forests, then Minister of Transport and Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks until last summer when he was fired from cabinet. during a reshuffle to bring the Conservatives into an election year.

His departure from an often-conservative riding in southwestern Ontario leaves little time for the party, which had already registered him online for its 2022 squad, to find a replacement before the spring election.

Ford thanked Yurek on social media on Friday “for his time and dedication to serving the people” in his constituency.

“. “I wish you, your wife and your daughter all the best as you enter the next chapter.”

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The prime minister’s office said there were no plans to call a by-election before the general election in June.

With Yurek not seeking re-election, the Tories will lose three veterans in the London area, which has 10 constituencies, in the next election. Perth-Wellington MP Randy Pettapiece, another 10-year-old lawmaker, is no longer running, and Chatham-Kent-Leamington veteran Rick Nicholls has been kicked out of the Conservative caucus for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Trevor Jones, a civic politician from Leamington, will run in Nicholls constituency for the Conservatives in June.

Yurek’s decision to leave now is not “particularly surprising,” given his long tenure, said political scientist Cristine de Clercy at Western University.

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“He didn’t say exactly why he was leaving, but it’s not uncommon for people to like him. . . . middle-aged and mid-career politicians are stepping down, ”de Clercy said, adding that sometimes“ their desire to serve the public just wanes and their interests change and they want to do something different ”.

The Conservatives won seven of the 10 London area seats in the last election, the New Democrats three – all in London – and the Liberals none.

Although Yurek’s seat will remain vacant for a few months before the next election is called, de Clercy said the time would allow a “more transparent process to find new candidates, for all parties, not just the Tories.”

Yurek said he looks forward to staying active in his community, but does not plan to get involved politically.

“At this point, I think I’m done with public life per se,” he said. “I think it’s more about supporting our community outside of politics.”

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Twitter.com/CalviatLFPress

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada

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