Abbott considering his political future

Barb Brouwer

Black Press

George Abbott is casting his eye on fishing and family fun this summer.

And, despite the rumours, including those fuelled by Vancouver radio commentator Alex Tsakumis, the minister of education and Shuswap MLA  says he has not yet made up his mind about his future in politics.

“I have never spoken to him, nor do I intend to do that,” said Abbott.

“I am hoping to get vacation time to figure out whether I wish to continue in the political world.”

Abbott’s political engagement began in 1979 when he became a trustee for the Sicamous Waterworks District.

He joined the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board in 1980 and took on the role of Shuswap MLA in 1996, serving five years in opposition and 12 in government.

“I will be enjoying my 33rd anniversary of elected office in September,” he said.

“Even for a youthful guy like me, it’s getting to be a long time.”

Agreeing his party is facing tough issues, Abbott says solutions are always much more obvious on the opposition side of the house.

Abbott says he was so immersed in negotiations with the province’s teachers he didn’t have time to think about broader issues, or the wide criticism aimed at his government.

“After such a long time in politics, I have scar tissue on scar tissue in terms of thick skin.”

He does not believe changing the party’s name, something that will be debated at the party’s October convention, is a wise move.

“I think our problems go way beyond a name change,” he says.

“I think our challenges go back to the extraordinarily awkward and unfortunate way we introduced the HST. We’re still living with that.”

While he did love teaching political science at Okanagan College prior to life in Victoria, Abbott says he is eyeballing involvement in public policy development in his future – particularly in the fields of health and education.

“I do need to think about whether I want to devote another four years to what is inevitably a roller coaster ride in politics,” he says.

“Politics has driven me for a long time and I have to decide if it will drive me for another four years.”



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