Goodale marking 25 years as Saskatchewan MP

This fall, Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale celebrates his 25th anniversary as a member of Parliament in the House of Commons.

This fall, Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale is celebrating his 25th anniversary as a member of Parliament in the House of Commons.

The member for Wascana, the province's lone Liberal MP and the deputy leader of his party, Goodale has in fact been in politics for four decades — several years of work in provincial politics add to the total.

I'm elected to be Wascana's representative in Ottawa, not Ottawa's representative in Wascana.- Ralph Goodale

Reflecting on his quarter-century in the House of Commons, Goodale, 64, expressed satisfaction at having represented his constituents for so long.

"There's just one basic rule," he said, commenting on his longevity. "I'm elected to be Wascana's representative in Ottawa, not Ottawa's representative in Wascana."

Early start in politics

He was elected for the first time to the House of Commons in 1974 when he was only 24 years old, representing the Assiniboia riding.

Goodale said he'll never forget his first speech in Parliament in the summer of '74, with the subject being grain transportation.

"The first time you get to your feet ... that's a moment that's pretty special," he said.

In the 1980s, he was head of the provincial Liberal Party and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan in 1986.

Ups and downs

He lost after running federally again in 1988. He then worked in private practice for several firms until the October 1993 election when he returned to federal politics with the team led by Jean Chretien.

During the years that followed, Goodale was part of Canada's federal cabinet, serving as minister of agriculture, natural resources minister, government house leader, minister of public works and finance minister.

Among the highlights of representing the Wascana riding was the "Big Dig" dredging of Wascana Lake, Goodale said.

As a member of cabinet, seeing Saskatchewan get an extra $800 million in equalization money after a technical issue was corrected was also gratifying, he said.

He's been an opposition MP since 2006.

Although he's approaching normal retirement age, Goodale says he's not ready to step down yet.

"That's not in the plan," he said.


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