Editor's note: Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison penned this open letter to his constituents in relation to the announcement that he will not be reoffering in the next federal election.
On June 2, 1997, I was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kings Hants. It has been the highest honour of my life to serve you as Member of Parliament for almost 22 years.
The Christmas holidays, and particularly the time leading to the New Year, is a time of fellowship with friends and family. It’s also a time we take stock and plan for the coming year.
2019 will be an exciting year and I’d like to share with you, my friends, an important decision that Max and I have made as a family.
I have informed Prime Minister Trudeau of my decision to not seek re-election in 2019. As such, I’ve decided to step down from my role as President of the Treasury Board and also as Minister of Digital Government, and will work with the Prime Minister to ensure a smooth transition.
As I sat in the House of Commons last month, the last time parliamentarians will serve in Centre Block for at least a decade during renovations, I reflected on what that House meant to me.
It reminded me that Parliament matters. Politics matters. Government matters.
The House of Commons didn’t just shape my career – decisions made in that room shaped my life.
Including decisions that gave me the opportunity to marry the person I love, and raise a family while being open and honest about who I am as a person, all while serving the people of Kings Hants, and Canada.
My story couldn’t have happened just anywhere. It could only happen in Canada. And it would not have happened without you, the people of Kings Hants.
You’ve stuck with me through thick and thin, the good times and the tough ones. What a trip we’ve had together.
Two political parties. Seven elections.
You stood with me in December 2002, when I came out…
And in December 2003, when I came out again – this time as a Liberal.
You stood by me throughout the same sex marriage debate in the election of 2004, and when I was part of Paul Martin’s cabinet when equal marriage became the law of land in 2005.
You stood by me two years later when Max and I got married in Cheverie.
The love, respect, kindness, and friendship you’ve shown not just to me but to my family, to Maxime, Rose, and Claire, is something we treasure. And another reason why Cheverie will always be our home.
I want to thank all the volunteers who’ve made this journey possible. From the Kings Hants Liberal Riding Association executive to all the passionate, hardworking volunteers putting up signs in the middle of winter, knocking on countless doors, and making countless calls.
You’ve inspired me and somehow you’ve managed to get me elected over and over again.
I’ve served under nine leaders, all of whom, both in opposition and in government, entrusted me with important responsibilities.
Prime Ministers Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau both gave me the honour of serving in their cabinets as a minister.
When I told Prime Minister Trudeau my decision, I said how proud I am of what our government has accomplished for Canadians over the last three years.
And how optimistic I am for Canada under Prime Minister Trudeau’s leadership.
Over three years ago, Prime Minister Trudeau offered Canadians a clear choice and a plan for jobs and growth.
Today, that plan is working.
The Canada Child Benefit has lifted 300,000 kids out of poverty, the Canadian economy has added more than 800,000 jobs, we have the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years, and the fastest growth in the G7.
We’ve invested in people, in communities, in innovation, and in reconciliation with our Indigenous peoples.
We’ve helped create jobs in Kings-Hants and have defended our farmers and agri-food workers who have been the backbone of our economy. We’ve seen tremendous growth in Nova Scotia’s flourishing wine sector and in food tourism.
Here in Kings-Hants, in Nova Scotia, and in Atlantic Canada, we are delivering.
· From twinning the 101,
· To investing in our communities and building better places for children to play and for families to grow, including a new indoor pool in East Hants, two rinks in West Hants, and a refurbished soccer facility in Kings North,
· To world class research and science at Nova Scotia universities, including Acadia University right here in Wolfville,
· To crafting an Atlantic Growth Strategy that is helping grow our economy and our population,
· To the Atlantic Immigration Pilot,
· To the Oceans Supercluster.
There has been no Prime Minister more committed to improving the lives of Atlantic Canadians than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
We’ve made all this progress at a time of unprecedented global economic uncertainty.
We’ve secured access to international markets for our businesses and our citizens with the Canada – European Union trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. We fought hard and defended our interests with the renegotiation of NAFTA, and the new NAFTA is a good deal for Canadians.
In a world where extremism and populism are wreaking social, economic and political havoc elsewhere, here in Canada our recipe for growth that works for everybody and shared prosperity is working.
We are a model for the world that today, more than ever, needs more Canada.
I’ve been proud to be a part of our country’s first gender balanced cabinet. That gender balance in the people around the cabinet table means better decisions for all Canadians. It also means greater equality of opportunity for the future of Canadian girls, like Rose and Claire.
I’m proud of Prime Minister Trudeau, and what we’ve accomplished together as Liberals.
I’m confident that with hope and hard work we will earn the trust of Canadians to form another majority government in October 2019.
But now is the time for others to walk that path, and I pass the baton knowing that Canadians will always collectively make the wise, democratic choice that puts good women and men in the Parliament of Canada, year after year, election after election.
I want to thank some people who have walked that path with me:
Starting with my family for their support and personal sacrifices over the past 22 years.
I also want to thank my teams, without whom I couldn’t have done any of this.
My constituency office in Wolfville: From the late great Audrey Anne Murphy to Pat Taylor and Tanya Moore, and more recently Evan Fairn, who have helped thousands of people over the years. Thank you for your service to our friends and neighbours of Kings Hants.
Dale Palmeter – my friend for 40 years, who roped me into a contested nomination race on March 1, 1997 and who has managed every election campaign in Kings Hants since, and has provided important and frank advice every step of the way.
Tisha Ashton, who has given me brilliant policy advice for over 15 years.
Adele Desjardins, who began working in the House of Commons in 1968 for Robert Stanfield and has helped manage my Ottawa life in three different decades.
Edward Rawlinson, who first worked with me over 12 years ago and returned from the business world for another tour of duty.
And all the other people whose tireless efforts have been critical to everything that I have done.
If I took the time to mention everyone who’s helped me I’d never finish. But please know that I deeply appreciate your work and I will never forget your commitment.
There are three main reasons I’ve made the decision to not run again.
First, I’ve served as a Member of Parliament for Kings Hants for almost 22 years. I’m proud of what I helped accomplish. I’m leaving on top, proud of my Prime Minister and our government.
Second, for me, it’s time for a change. They say that life begins at 50. Well, I’m 51, and I’m ready for new challenges and excited about pursuing new opportunities.
Third, and most important, is my family.
Some people become parents easily. Some people even accidentally. For Max and me, our journey to parenthood was neither easy nor accidental. I’m so lucky to have Max and the girls. I’ve been so blessed with this beautiful family.
The greatest roles I’ll ever have are being husband to Max, and Daddy to Rose and Claire.
As I watch Rose and Claire grow into such special people, I can’t wait for the next chapter of our life together.
Canada is one of the truly rare places in the world where a life like ours is possible.