It’s time to get back to the classroom, says Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald, who has announced he will not run in next year’s provincial election.
“I have been involved in political life for many years, including as Mayor of Golden, where I was able to serve in a public role but also spend my days in the classroom,” said Macdonald. “While it has been a tremendous honour over these last 11 years to represent the people of Columbia River Revelstoke in the BC Legislature, I miss those daily interactions with students and with fellow educators.”
It wasn’t that difficult a decision to make, Macdonald says.
“It was always my intention to teach again. It’s where I want to finish my working life.”
Macdonald will stay up to the election, but says it was a decision that had to be made now in order to give those who may want to seek the nomination as NDP candidate for this riding some time.
“This will give people an opportunity to put their name forward for nomination,” he said. “It’s a long process, you have to build a team. I am expecting a strongly contested nomination and it will take time.”
Bill MacFarlane, the head of the Columbia River–Revelstoke NDP constituency association, said he was happy for Macdonald being able to step down on his own terms, but that it would be tough to replace him.
“He was a really effective MLA,” MacFarlane said. “He really took people’s concerns to heart and worked on their behalf.”
He said the NDP will begin planning to nominate a successor starting next month. No one has officially announced their candidacy yet.
“It’s going to be an exciting time for us as we build towards the next election, which is less than a year away,” he said.
Macdonald was elected in 2005, defeating BC Liberal incumbent Wendy McMahon.
He has always been a voice in the NDP caucus, serving as critic for various portfolios, currently critic of Energy and Mines.
Macdonald says he is not being too reflective about his years as MLA yet.
“I still have work to do. I will be busy right up to election time,” he said. “I will continue to fight for the people of this area, bringing forward their issues, and helping to find solutions, and that work will continue right up until the election is called.
“A large part of this job is to be a voice, to let people know you are on their side, to be aligned with the community’s interests.”
He doesn’t have any regrets either, despite the fact that the NDP never won a provincial election during his tenure.
“There is only so much you can control. I know over the years, we were outspent, but we always felt we outworked our opponents. If you do the things you can control well, there is no room for regrets.”
Macdonald also plans to be active on the election campaign.
“I will be putting up signs, making phone calls — just as scores of volunteers have done for me. The things that brought me into politics are still there. One should never take for granted the gift of democracy. It’s only as good as we make it.”
BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok, who lost to Macdonald in the last election, and will run again in Columbia River Revelstoke said he was not surprised by Macdonald’s decision, but wished him well.
“Although Norm and I at times have clashed swords we both share a common passion; the provision of the best service and representation possible to the constituents of Columbia River Revelstoke. Where we have differed is how we get to that outcome. I thank him for his time in public service as Mayor of Golden and MLA and sincerely wish him and his family all the very best in whatever is next.”
Also adding his thanks was Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick.
“Serving as an elected official for 12 years involves a lot of sacrifice for absolutely no personal gain; serving it in opposition made his job even more difficult. I would like to thank Norm for his service and wish him all the best in his next adventure.”