Chris Charlton won't run for Hamilton Mountain MP again

Chris Charlton won’t run for re-election in 2015 to continue as MP for Hamilton Mountain, saying it’s “time for me to go.”

'It's time for me to go,' the MP says

Hamilton Mountain NDP MP Chris Charlton says she won't run for re-election in 2015. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Much to the surprise of her local supporters, Chris Charlton won’t be running for re-election in 2015 as MP for Hamilton Mountain, saying it’s “time for me to go.”

The NDP MP announced Friday afternoon that she’s leaving politics after 25 years.

As of next year, she’ll have been in parliament for 10 years, she said. “Quite simply, it’s time for me to go.”

Charlton's husband, Brian, was in provincial parliament for 18 years. She’s been in politics for 25 years.

“In many ways, it is all consuming,” she said of being MP. “New Democrats have fought tirelessly to improve the work-life balance for Canadians, but ironically, the job of MP does not allow us to achieve that balance ourselves. And for me, the time has come to put my family first.”

The move came as a shock to members of the Hamilton Mountain NDP federal riding association. 

"I can understand, but I was surprised," said riding president Bryan Adamczyk.

He's not upset though, he said. "Chris and I go back a long way."

With Charlton's announcement, "we take a step back and take a deep breath," he said. "Now that she's made a decision not to run, we start the process of seeing who we think will be a good candidate in the federal election."  

Adamczyk isn't sure how much interest there will be, but "it wouldn't surprise me if people started turning their minds to it."

Charlton said her family didn’t ask her to give up her job, she said, but it’s “the right time for us.”

In the statement, Charlton, 51, described her time as “a breath-taking journey. I have loved every minute.”

Charlton’s federal career has included stints as industry critic and chief opposition whip.

Charlton told CBC Hamilton that she's not sure what she'll do next. She knows of no heir apparent. The federal riding association, she said, didn't know she wasn't running again until today.

She does plan to volunteer, she said.

The NDP association for a new west-end riding, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, is rumoured to be courting former city councillor Brian McHattie to run.

McHattie said he doesn't believe he'd run on the Mountain, but that it's "disappointing news for sure" that Charlton won't be running again.