Goldsmith-Jones stresses need for collaboration 

Federal election set for Oct. 21

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY JOEL BARDE - ONE AND DONE  Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones will not seek re-election in October after serving one term.
  • File photo by Joel Barde
  • ONE AND DONE Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones will not seek re-election in October after serving one term.

To hear it from Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Liberal MP for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, the drama engulfing her party for the better part of six months did not factor into her decision to step aside before this October's election.

The decision was purely a personal one.

"I need to be based closer to home, and particularly want to spend more time with my parents," Goldsmith-Jones said over the phone from Ottawa, two days after announcing she will not seek re-election this fall.

"I'm confident in the Prime Minister's leadership. I'm going to help with recruiting a candidate and help to the extent that they want my help in the campaign, and also, I think both Minister (of Foreign Affairs Chrystia) Freeland and the Prime Minister asked me to continue on as Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, which is great. (It) shows they have confidence in me and I do in them, so I am absolutely sticking with the team, there's no question."

The local Liberal riding association's annual general meeting is set for May 25 in West Vancouver, where the nomination process for a new Liberal candidate will begin in earnest.

Whoever ends up earning the nod, Goldsmith-Jones said she hopes they carry on her commitment to collaboration.

"Continue to build on the foundations we've established with local government and regional governments and First Nations ... it's obvious that that's my preferred mode of working, and I'm just really proud of everything that we've accomplished, and that we have enjoyed great relations," she said.

"Keep strong on protecting Howe Sound, on wild salmon, on putting a price on carbon pollution. These are not easy things when you're in Ottawa to succeed in, and we've done, I think, a great job, and we have to just keep the pressure on."

Goldsmith-Jones was first elected in 2015, following two terms as mayor of West Vancouver between 2005 and 2011.

During her four years in Ottawa she served as parliamentary secretary to both the minister of international trade diversification and the minister of foreign affairs.

She said her time in the former role helped inform her approach in the latter.

"I've been honed by the people in (West Vancouver), who are very demanding, exacting, informed. So the 12 years of experience I had before, I think, made a tremendous difference, and certainly in international trade and foreign affairs, taking a diplomatic approach made a big difference," she said.

"And also in the foreign affairs committee and the international trade committees, both of which I've been responsible for over the years, making sure I was on good terms with the Conservatives, NDP, Bloc and of course (Green Party leader) Elizabeth May ... was very important and I feel like that's what our community expects."

The outgoing MP said she was proud of investments in wastewater projects and infrastructure projects in the riding (like in Pemberton's downtown enhancement and the Ts'zil Learning Centre in Mount Currie), as well as innovation at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lab in West Vancouver.

As for what's next, Goldsmith-Jones said she's still got five months of work ahead of her in Ottawa, and she's not planning on retiring.

"I'll be home all summer, and I'll be helping on the campaign, and I'm not really thinking about December. I'm thinking about working as hard as I can right through to the end," she said.

"(I'd like to offer) my deep gratitude to the community for putting your trust in me. I tried to live up to that, and I'm very grateful."

With Goldsmith-Jones stepping aside, the Sea to Sky riding has just one confirmed candidate ahead of the Oct. 21 vote: the Conservative Party of Canada's Gabrielle Loren (see Pique, May 8).

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