British Columbia

Vancouver-Quadra MP Owen officially resigns

Liberal MP Stephen Owen officially stepped down Friday, leaving the Vancouver-Quadra seat vacant.

Liberal MP Stephen Owen stepped down Friday, leaving the Vancouver-Quadra seat vacant.

Owen, the Official Opposition critic for democratic reform, firstannounced his intention to resign on Feb. 5.

He was elected to Parliament in November 2000, and re-elected inJune 2004 and January 2006. He served in the cabinets of both Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.

Hewill assume his new post as vice-president, external and community relations at the University of British Columbia on Aug. 15.

In a letter to constituents posted on his website, Owen said both he and his wife Diane, "are deeply honoured to have had the opportunity to represent you in Ottawa, and will always treasure the experiences and friendships of this part of our lives."

According to the letter,Chief Opposition Whip Karen Redman will be the designated MP for the constituency untila byelection is called.

The prime minister has 180 days to call a byelection in the traditional Liberal stronghold, which must occur at least 35 days after the call. The Liberals will be running former B.C. cabinet minister Joyce Murray.

Other candidates include technology consultant Dan Grice for the Green party and UBC student Rebecca Coad for the NDP. The Conservatives will soon choose a candidate between UBC commerce professor Deborah Meredith and BC Cancer Society chairwoman Mary McNeil.

Six MPs resigning since January

Owen joins a growing list of resigning MPs. There are currently five vacant ridings, and one other MP has indicated thathe will resignhis seat by the end of the summer.

Six federal ridings are or will soon be vacant; MPs who last represented them and their departure dates:
  • Outremont, Que., Jean Lapierre (Liberal), Jan. 28
  • Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, Que., Yvon Loubier (Bloc Québécois), Feb. 21
  • Roberval, Que., Michel Gauthier (Bloc Québécois), date not announced
  • Toronto Centre, Bill Graham (Liberal), July 2
  • Willowdale, Ont., Jim Peterson (Liberal), July 12
  • Vancouver Quadra, B.C, Stephen Owen (Liberal), July 27

Liberal MP Jean Lapierre resigned Jan. 28 to pursue a career in television. Bill Graham announced he would not seek re-election on Feb. 22, resigning on July 2. Jim Peterson resigned effective July 12. Gary Merasty will resign on Aug. 31.

Bloc Québécois MP Yvan Loubier resigned on Feb. 21 to run in the Quebec general election.