An emotional Jean Crowder announced on Thursday morning that her name won’t be appearing on the ballot in the next federal election, expected in 2015.
After a decade as the New Democrat Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Cowichan, Crowder will be leaving the door open in the redrawn Cowichan-Malahat-Langford
and Nanaimo-Ladysmith ridings in 2015.
"After 10 years, I think it’s time to take time out for my family," Crowder said.
Crowder noted that she has "three adorable grandchildren who live on the other side of the continent," that she would like to see more often, and that she will be 63 in 2015, and 67 when the next term ends. The difficult decision was made after talking to her family over Christmas.
"It started in the fall when people were asking me where I was going to run, and no one had ever asked me that before," she recalled.
Because of the surprise announcement on Thursday, no candidates had emerged to fill Crowder’s shoes as the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding’s next NDP candidate, although a few have already expressed interest in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding. Regardless of whose name is on the ballot, they will have Crowder’s support.
"My goal is to make sure that both ends of the riding stay New Democrat," she said.
Crowder, who was a municipal councillor in North Cowichan before she was elected MP in 2004, reiterated her commitment to the Cowichan Valley and vowed to continue to serve the region.
"I love my community," she said. "It has been a huge privilege to serve here, and I
want to thank everyone for their support. I will not be retiring. I fully expect to continue to be active in my community." Among the things Crowder is most proud of is the fact that when she first joined Parliament, the NDP had just 19 seats and has since become the official opposition with 103 seats in the 2011 election.
Crowder’s projects in Parliament have included dealing with derelict vessels, combating poverty, and backing Jordan’s Principle, a child-first policy to resolve jurisdictional disputes involving the care of First Nations children that received unanimous support from Parliament in 2007.
"That’s an achievement that will be there long after I’m gone," she said.