Edmonton

Alberta's only NDP MP not seeking re-election in 2019

Edmonton Strathcona NDP MP Linda Duncan announced Tuesday she will not be running for re-election in 2019.

Linda Duncan has represented Edmonton Strathcona for 10 years

Edmontonians react to news that Linda Duncan, Alberta's only NDP MP, will not run in the 2019 election. 1:21

Edmonton Strathcona NDP MP Linda Duncan announced Tuesday she will not be running for re-election in 2019.

"I think I've done my bit," said Duncan. "I think it's time for somebody else to take the helm."

Duncan was first elected in 2008, then re-elected in 2011 and 2015. She is the only NDP MP in Alberta.

'Hell of a job' 

Many constituents were caught off-guard by Duncan's decision, including Greg Plouffe. 

"I think she's done a hell of a job," said Plouffe, who lives in the Strathearn neighbourhood in Duncan's riding.

"I hope the NDP can come up with somebody just as strong."

During an availability, Duncan told reporters there are "impressive people" who will be running for the nomination in her riding but wouldn't elaborate.

The next federal election is expected to take place in October 2019 and Duncan said she will continue to work hard representing her constituents until then.

The Alberta NDP and federal NDP have found themselves at odds over energy issues, particularly when it comes to pipelines.

Duncan's opinion about the ongoing pipeline debate is that it is up to the Liberal federal government to come up with an appropriate environmental plan.

"We're a national party and a huge number of our caucus is from B.C. and they're very concerned about their coasts," Duncan said Tuesday.

"It's not a case of being against the development of Alberta energy, it's a question of federal responsibility to deliver on a proper review process," she added.

'A major loss'

Chaldeans Mensah, a political scientist at MacEwan University, said Duncan's announcement is a big loss for the party, especially when it comes to the Trans Mountain pipeline debate. 

"She's been a strong voice on that file, but right now there's a division between the provincial wing and the federal wing and she's been actually keeping a lower profile and she hasn't been intervening on that file," Mensah said.

"You need seasoned MPs like Duncan on the scene to contribute to the building up of the NDP," he added.

"I think this is a major loss for the party, losing that voice from Alberta where the party is having some difficulty with its provincial counterparts." 

Duncan was not definitive when asked if stepping away from politics means she will be retiring.

"Will I be able to turn a blind eye to issues I see happening? I've never been able to do that in my life and I am sure I will still be very active," Duncan said.

However, she is looking forward to spending more time with friends and family.

"I've spent a lot of my career away and you miss out."

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