Elsie Wayne says no to political comeback

Former Conservative MP Elsie Wayne has decided not to return federal politics if an election is called.

Former Conservative MP Elsie Wayne has decided not to return to federal politics in the event of an election.

Wayne, who retired in the months leading up to the June 2004 election, had been mulling over the possibility of running again in her old Saint John riding, now held by a Liberal.

But Wayne says it's time for someone new.

"I have spent the past 12 years going back and forth to Ottawa ... so I thought it was time for someone else and someone else's beliefs to be heard," Wayne said on Thursday.

The former MP said all three of the candidates seeking the local nomination were very strong, though she wouldn't say who she was supporting.

However, she said Saint John – and the Maritimes in general – needed someone who knows how to be heard in Ottawa.

"Whoever we put in there, they've got to speak out for our people back home," Wayne said.

The outspoken former MP was well-known for her stand against gay rights, once telling the House of Commons that homosexuals shouldn't be dressing up for pride parades and should "shut up" about wanting to get married.

A former mayor of Saint John, she had been in politics for 27 years.

Wayne said she is convinced the Conservatives are on their way to a big win in the next election, whenever it may be.

"There's going to be a major change, there's no question about that."

Wayne once acted as interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in the seven months between the leadership stints of Jean Charest and Joe Clark.

She and Charest were the only Tory MPs elected when Jean Chrétien's Liberals swept into office in 1993, after 10 years of Conservative government under Brian Mulroney.

Wayne said the federal sponsorship scandal was proving to be the final undoing of the Liberal government and the prime minister.

"For Paul Martin to say he didn't know about all these hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars being misused ... he was minister of finance, so in other words, he didn't do his job as minister of finance, either."