Coun. Marianne Wilkinson calling it quits

Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson has announced she's leaving municipal politics nearly 50 years after she was first elected.

Wilkinson entered municipal politics in 1970, became Kanata's 1st mayor in 1978

Coun. Marianne Wilkinson announced her retirement from municipal politics at her annual International Women's Day breakfast on Tuesday. Wilkinson was first elected in 1970. (Laura Osman/ CBC)

Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson has announced she's leaving municipal politics nearly 50 years after she was first elected.

Wilkinson made the announcement Tuesday at her annual International Women's Day breakfast.

"I've done most of the big things I wanted to," she said.

Politicians were quick to share their admiration for the long-serving councillor.

"Nothing frightens me more in my office than hearing, 'Marianne Wilkinson on line one,'" Mayor Jim Watson joked.

He described Wilkinson as a fierce advocate for Ottawa western suburbs.

Wilkinson's storied career in municipal politics in Kanata started shortly after she moved to the area. Within a year of arriving she had been elected as the first woman on the March Township Council. She had three children at the time, her youngest just four months old.

"I just sort of fell into it," Wilkinson said.

Longtime Ottawa city councillor Marianne Wilkinson says she won't run for re-election in 2018. She spoke with CBC's Laura Osman about how she got her start in municipal politics in the 1970s. 0:56

She would go on to become the first mayor of Kanata when the suburb was incorporated in 1978, then represent the area on Ottawa city council.

Wilkinson said she doesn't intend to step out of the public spotlight entirely, and plans to focus on special projects. In fact, stepping down from her elected role will allow her to be an even more outspoken advocate for local issues, she said.

"I think I can still do a lot in the community," she said. 

After her announcement, Wilkinson encouraged other women to take action and be the change in their own communities.

"If you think something isn't right, then not to do something about it is wrong," she told the crowd. 

Wilkinson's retirement will officially begin after a new councillor is sworn in to represent Kanata North following the municipal election in October.

Marianne Wilkinson served as mayor of Kanata from 1978 to 1985, and served many more years as a City of Ottawa councillor. But back in 1982, she told CBC she intended to leave municipal politics. 0:22

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated Marianne Wilkinson's replacement will be sworn in in October. In fact, the new city council will be sworn in in December.
    Mar 06, 2018 1:14 PM ET