Joan McIntyre, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, has announced she won't be running in the next provincial election.
Since first being elected in 2005 McIntyre said she had always planned to serve no more than two terms adding that leadership issues within the Liberal party had no influence over her decision to step back from politics. The announcement brings to 13 the number of Liberal MLAs stepping down.
McIntyre didn't back Christy Clark in the B.C. Liberal leadership race.
"I think it is fair to say I was disappointed," McIntyre said in an interview after word of her planned retirement was released. "Kevin (Falcon) came very close in a 52 to 48 result. We worked very closely on the highway and various issues in the riding."
The next provincial election is scheduled for May of next year.
Dave Davenport, a member of the Liberal constituency association in the riding, said he would chair the committee tasked with finding a new candidate to represent the Liberal party in this riding in the next election.
"The riding association forms a search committee, which has four or five individuals from the riding executive that represent the breadth of the corridor and then we would be proactively seeking people who might be interested," said Davenport.
He said no timeline is in place yet for the process of finding a new nominee to represent the B.C. Liberal party in the riding.
"I know that there are people who are at varying levels of interest," Davenport said when asked if anyone has indicated they want the nomination. "I can't tell you who but certainly I know of some significant names who are considering it. I know of some people who have decided they'd like to seek it and I know of some people who are encouraging significant people to seek it."
McIntyre noted that she spent almost 35 years in business before entering politics, and she went into the 2005 election thinking that two terms in office would round out her working career nicely.
"I've some various things I want to do on a personal level and I want to travel," said the outgoing MLA. "I'm not looking for a job or I don't have a new job I'm moving on to."
McIntyre said there are some projects she is thinking of getting involved with and one is supporting the HOpe Centre for Psychiatry and Education at Lions Gate Hospital. She said the centre offers benefits for the entire riding.
"It has been an honour and privilege to serve in public life and I want to thank all those who supported me in my endeavours," said McIntyre adding that she will continue to work hard for constituents right up until the day the election is called.
"I am extremely proud that the major legacies such as the safety upgrade to Hwy 99, all the Olympic infrastructure, including the new Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood in Whistler, the adoption of the Sea to Sky Land Resource Management Plan, the Malamute lands being annexed into Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, Capilano's designation as a university, and their addition of the film centre, as well as the funding of the HOpe Centre for Psychiatry and Education at Lions Gate Hospital," said McIntyre.
Former Whistler mayor Ken Melamed called her the best MLA the Sea to Sky corridor has had.
"She really understood the political differences and differing interests between the communities in the corridor," said Melamed. "I think it was one of the things that held us together. She worked so hard to be in strong relationships with everybody."
He added that she worked very hard.
Said Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden: "My impression of the work that Joan's done in the riding is that she's been very responsive to the constituents' requirements. She's always in attendance at functions, she responds very well to complaints and inquiries and suggestions. She's been a very diligent MLA in my experience."
In Squamish the news of McIntyre's retirement was met with regret from mayor Rob Kirkham. "(I am) sorry to hear that Joan has decided not to remain in politics," he said.
"She has been a real contributor to the community of Squamish. She has worked really hard for us. She has been a big fighter for us on our behalf and we're going to miss her."
Premier Clark acknowledged McIntyre's service to her constituents and to British Columbia when word of McIntyre's decision was announced.
"Joan has been a passionate supporter of West Vancouver and the Sea to Sky corridor throughout her time as an MLA and earned the respect of all who have worked with her," the premier said in a statement.
McIntyre's relationship with the BC Liberal party dates back nearly 20 years. She was the riding association president and a member of the provincial Liberal executive until 2004 when Ted Nebbeling announced his retirement. It was at that time that McIntyre decided to seek the nomination to replace Nebbeling.
For McIntyre's eight years in office, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has estimated she is eligible to receive a pension worth more than $568,000.
Jordan Bateman, the B.C. director with the taxpayers federation said McIntyre is eligible for a severance package equal to15 months of pay and once she reaches 65 she will be eligible to collect her full pension, which Bateman estimates will pay her more than $32,000 a year.
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