Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's East MP Jack Harris won't run in next federal election

St. John's East MP Jack Harris says he won't be running in the next federal election, whenever it may be.

Harris first elected to federal parliament in 1987

St. John's East MP Jack Harris announced Friday that he won't run in the next election. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

St. John's East MP Jack Harris says he won't be running in the next federal election, bringing an end to a political career that started with an upset in a byelection in 1987. 

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Harris said "after careful consideration over the past number of weeks," he's decided not offer himself for election again.

"I want to thank the people of St. John's East for their support over the years. It has been a pleasure to work with them and with all the communities in my riding," Harris, 72, said in the statement.

"I have had the wonderful opportunity to sit in four federal parliaments since 1987 and five general assemblies of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly for a cumulative total of over 25 years and I am very grateful to the people of St. John's East for giving me the privilege to serve them."

Harris, a lawyer, has been a key part of the Newfoundland and Labrador political scene since 1987, when he won St. John's East — which had voted Progressive Conservative for decades — in a byelection. He was defeated in the 1988 election, and went on to become the provincial NDP leader. He represented the provincial district of St. John's, later renamed Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi, between 1990 and 2006. 

Harris held the federal seat again from 2008 until 2015, when Liberal Nick Whalen defeated him, then scored a comeback in the 2019 federal election, defeating Whalen in a rematch. 

Harris also thanked his family in the statement, and wished New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh and the party's caucus the best in the future.

Harris announced he was being treated for cancer in March 2020 after discovering a lump in his neck and began treatment shortly after. He said he made good progress and was back at public events a few months later. Harris did not comment on his health in his statement. 

"I am proud of the work we have done together in this parliament and know that the NDP is the party to make the changes that our country needs," he said.

Harris said he will continue to serve the constituents in his riding until the next election and plans to help with the campaign of the next NDP candidate in St. John's East.

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