Abbott considers his future

George Abbott, Shuswap MLA, reconsiders politics with election just over one year away

A veteran politician isn’t sure what his future holds.

George Abbott, who was first elected Shuswap MLA in 1996, admits he is considering his options leading up to the next provincial election in May 2013.

“We’re 14 months away from an election and six months away from the nomination period,” he told The Morning Star Friday.

“I am giving some thought to whether I give another four years to public office.”

When asked what factors he is considering, Abbott said: “What are the things that interest me and what I want to do with my life over the next four years.”

As education minister, much of Abbott’s recent schedule has been occupied by the labour dispute with the B.C. Teachers Federation. He eventually moved ahead with back-to-work legislation to bring any future strikes to an end.

Abbott also recently returned from China where he was promoting B.C.’s education system to international students.

Abbott insists that any decision not to seek another term will not be influenced by the current standings of the Liberal government, which are significantly behind the opposition NDP.

“It doesn’t play the slightest role,” he said.

“Parties wax and wain in the polls on a constant basis.”

He also says that his decision will not suggest dissatisfaction with Premier Christy Clark, who he ran against for the leadership of the Liberal Party last year.

“I’m fully supportive of the premier and the government,” he said.

John van Dongen, Abbotsford South MLA, recently quit the Liberals and joined the B.C. Conservatives.

In announcing his move, van Dongen stated he has concerns about the integrity of the government.

“I was disappointed that he made the decision he did and exited in the way that he did,” said Abbott.

Among van Dongen’s concerns were the government paying the legal fees of two former employees who  pled guilty to breach of trust in the sale of B.C. Rail, and the Liberals not selling the naming rights of B.C. Place to Telus.