Ken Lewenza doesn't rule out politics in retirement

While Ken Lewenza is leaving his official position in the labour movement he hasn't ruled out entering politics.
Ken Lewenza said he's not ruling anything out of his future. (Canadian Press File Photo)

Ken Lewenza, national president of the CAW, stepped down Thursday. While he is leaving the labour movement he hasn't ruled out entering politics.

Lewenza, 59, told CBC News to never say never.

"My life is never planned," he said. "I'm not ruling anything out."

There was a time when he thought he would never become president of the CAW. In 2008, it happened:

"I don't exclude anything in my life," Lewenza said."Saying no is not an option."

Lewenza said it's way too early to even consider whether he'd run for a councillor position or mayor in Windsor.

The next general municipal election will be held in October 2014.

'Windsor biggest benefactor'

Jerry Dias, a top assistant to Lewenza and heir apparent to his presidency, said he's not sure what's next for Lewenza.

However, Dias said "Windsor will be the biggest benefactor."

"He'll be able to spend more time there, spend more time building a community," Dias said.

Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis told CBC News he'd be surprised if Lewenza doesn't run for political office.

There are some people who say he'd have a strong voice at the federal level, especially with his recent criticism of the Conservative government and what the CAW calls its "attack on labour."

Lewenza said that when he retires Oct. 1, the only thing he knows is that he will become an ambassador and advocate for Unifor, the union created when the CAW and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union merged.

Gary Parent, who is a CAW retiree and former president of the Windsor and District Labour Council has known and worked with Lewenza for more than 35 years.

He has a bit of advice for Lewenza. He said Lewenza should enjoy time off with his family before deciding his next move:

"That'll be his decision but I just hope he doesn't jump into anything and I hope people don't put pressure on him to do anything in politics at this particular point in time," Parent said.