Long-time Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MP Joe Comartin will not run in the next federal election.
Comartin made the announcement Thursday at Willistead Park in Windsor, Ont.
"My wife and I spent a lot of time talking about this. I had a small group I consulted with to make this decision," Comartin said. "It wasn’t easy. It’s been the last year or so, we’ve been discussing it."
Comartin said age is the reason behind his decision. Comartin is 66. He will stay on as MP until the next election is called.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not set a date for that election.
"My one concern was to make sure the riding stays NDP. It’s the reason why I made this announcement this early: to give the candidate to replace me to get their campaign underway," Comartin said.
Comartin was first elected in 2000. He was 2008 Speaker of the House. Comartin is currently deputy speaker.
He was voted most knowledgeable parliamentarian three times by his peers.
“Joe Comartin has a fantastic reputation of having a lot of decorum. A lot of other members of Parliament, regardless of party stripe, respect him for his civility," University of Windsor political scientist Lydia Miljan said. "We often denigrate politicians and they get a bad reputation. Joe Comartin’s not one of them."
Comartin tabled legislation that would legalize single-event sports betting. It's still being debated in the Senate.
"In general he’s been a very active member of parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh," Miljan said.
Comartin has no plans for his retirement.
"Since I was 13 and in high school, I was always actively engaged in my community," he said. "I can’t imagine changing that. I’ll still be involved. I just haven’t decided what it’ll be."
Comartin said he's not aware of anyone interested in replacing him yet. He said the riding association and party will get to work finding one.
Windsor and the nearby riding of Essex sent three NDP MPPs to Queen's Park on June 12.
Miljan said Windsorites don't have much political loyalty and can change stripes quickly.
"It will be interesting to see if the Liberals can make some gains on the federal side," Miljan said.