Submitted by Catherine McKenna, MP for Ottawa Centre
When I got into politics eight years ago, I made two simple promises to myself: always fight for what I believe in, and leave when I had done what I got into politics to do. I hope when people look at the record I’ve built over the better part of a decade, they’ll see that I kept my promises.
Recently, I announced that I won’t be seeking re-election as the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre whenever the election happens. It was a difficult decision, but it’s the right one for me and my family, and the right time to make it.
Like many Canadians, living through COVID-19 made me step back and reflect on what matters to me most. And it’s two things: my kids and climate change.
When I first asked the people of our community to support me, my kids were four, six and eight. Now my youngest is 12 and my eldest is off to university soon. I don’t have many years left with them at home and I want to spend more time with them — they’re pretty awesome.
And while, thankfully, we will get out of the pandemic, we still have the climate crisis to fight. This is a critical year for climate action in the most important decade that will decide whether we can save the only planet that we have. I want to spend my working hours helping to make sure that we do.
I hope my community here knows that I’ve done everything I could to fight for them — whether that’s supporting federal investments in active transportation like the Flora Footbridge, or investing in net-zero buildings like Ottawa’s new super library. Or supporting $400 million in federal funding to electrify Ottawa’s entire bus fleet, investing in affordable housing through Ottawa Community Housing to improve and extend the lifespan of 11,000 community housing units, or investing $4 million for a new clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.
I will be forever grateful that you took a chance on me years ago. Being the first woman elected to represent Ottawa Centre has been the honour of my life. I love our community and the people in it. Now let’s make sure Ottawa becomes the greenest capital in the world!
I say this to my team and to the many kind people who’ve reached out about the political environment; I say it especially to the young girls out there who are thinking about politics and whether it’s for them: Do it. And when you do it, don’t be afraid to run like a girl. I’ll be there cheering you on.
I’m looking forward to the summer: lots of time with my kids and all the McKennas, lots of swimming in the Great Lakes, lots of writing and lots of thinking about my next chapter.
I can tell you one thing for sure: it will be 100 per cent focused on climate change. I’m proud of what we’ve done here in Canada, but there’s so much more to do. I look forward to contributing to the efforts as a mom, private citizen and a Canadian.