Inside Politics

Exit Interview: Liberal Dan McTeague

With his defeat in the riding of Pickering-Scarborough East, the May 2 election put an end to a long run on Parliament Hill for Liberal Dan McTeague who was first elected in 1993.

During his time in Ottawa, McTeague developed a reputation as an advocate for consumers and Canadians abroad. He began to specialize in that latter role in 2003 when he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs. He filled that role until the Liberals lost power in 2006. More recently, McTeague has devoted time to a website that keeps Canadians informed about gas prices, something he plans to spend more time on now.

McTeague is among 43 Liberals who lost their seats in the election. He spoke to CBC News while on Parliament Hill on Wednesday, right after finishing his last caucus meeting with his former colleagues. He recalled some highlights and low points in his political career and talked about what lies ahead now that his time as an MP has drawn to a close.

Q: What accomplishment in Parliament are you most proud of?

A: Passing several bills as a private member into law, apparently historically more than any MP in history -- the National Organ Donor Day, making high speed pursuits a criminal offence, the first time a backbencher had amended the Criminal Code ...but most of all, I think the humility of having served my constituents six times in a row and being here for almost 18 years.

Q: What was the low-point during your time in Parliament?

A: There were a lot. I think the low-point had to be when I was no longer able to help Canadians abroad.

Q: What is your advice for incoming MPs?

A: Work hard. Remember that this place belongs to the people of Canada, it belongs to your constituents, and good or bad, no matter what the outcome, treat it as a privilege and an honour that those who fought for the great freedoms of this country ... expect us to do our very best. It's a very daunting place but it's also a very forgiving place, people will always reward good, hard work.

Q: As you leave, how do you feel about Parliament?

A: This is the greatest democracy in the world, in the greatest country in the world and the future is very bright for Canada. My view and my hope is that the future Canadians who might happen to chance upon these comments, get an opportunity to run for public office and realize that anybody, any Canadian is entitled. They own this place. This is their country if they want to represent it, the opportunities are always there.

I've been given a great honour and a great privilege. It's time for someone else.

Q: What's next?

A: We'll see what the future holds but I've done my public service and now it's time to invest in my private life and my five children, all under 13 ...and a wife who has never known me outside of the context of politics. It's time to spend a bit more investment in their constituency needs.
I'm an open book right now. I am pursuing continuing to help Canadians save several hundreds of dollars a year by predicting the price of fuel. I plan to expand that to more cities across Canada and now that I have the time and freedom I can pretty much make this what I've always dreamed it would be and that's an opportunity for people to make greater consumer choices and be better informed rather than the status quo.

Comments are closed.