Miramichi-Grand Lake MP bows out of next federal election
Pat Finnigan decides not to run again after serving two terms
Miramichi-Grand Lake Liberal MP Pat Finnigan says he won't run in the next federal election expected later this year.
The two-term MP, who squeaked back into office in 2019 with a 370-vote margin, says he wants to devote more time to helping his wife run and then sell the Mr. Tomato Garden Centre, his family's business in Rogersville.
Finnigan said he and his wife had a potential buyer for the business after he was elected in 2015 but the sale fell through, leaving her to keep it running and try to find a new buyer.
"We thought we would have the business transferred at this stage, but we still have it and my wife is working hard at it," he said. "It's been more Mrs. Tomato in the last five years.
"She's doing a great job, but it wouldn't be fair to continue on and leave it to her, so I really have to come back and look after the business with her."
Current Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin Progressive Conservative MLA Jake Stewart has been nominated as the Conservative candidate in the federal riding.
Finnigan says Stewart's candidacy didn't scare him out of the race and he's not worried about a new Liberal candidate's chances against the four-term PC MLA.
"I think we'll be fine," he said, arguing he helped improve the federal payroll centre's operations in Miramichi and hire more people there, and secured federal funding for projects around the riding and for COVID-19 support for employers.
"I think people will recognize that we did a good job and I'm very confident that they will want to make sure this riding is represented in the new government … I'll compare our record anytime to what Mr. Stewart has been able to bring to the riding."
Finnigan was first elected in 2015 when Justin Trudeau's Liberals swept all 10 of New Brunswick's federal ridings.
He faced a tougher race in 2019 and was one of the last MPs declared victorious the night of the election as the final polls trickled in.
His margin of victory was 370 votes over Conservative Peggy McLean, a small margin especially considering the 1,179 votes won by People's Party candidate Ron Nowlan and the 1,160 votes by independent candidate Allison MacKenzie, who had sought the Conservative nomination.