MP ready to retire

A re-evaluation of priorities has Colin Mayes preparing to leave the federal scene

A re-evaluation of priorities has Colin Mayes preparing to leave the federal scene.

The Okanagan-Shuswap MP announced during a Conservative gathering in Enderby Saturday that he will not run in the next federal election Oct. 19, 2015.

“If I go into another term, I would be in my 70s and I thought, ‘Would I want to be there in my 70s?’ It’s time to focus on my wife and family and to be closer to home,” said Mayes who turned 66 Friday.

“I really thought and prayed about it and I’m comfortable with my decision.”

Mayes was first elected as MP in 2006 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2011.

He says he will complete his term in Ottawa but he hasn’t completely quashed speculation that he will run this November for Salmon Arm mayor, a position he held for nine years before becoming MP.

“I don’t think I would do that, it’s about 80 per cent no.”

He hasn’t considered his long-term plans after politics.

“I have thought about doing some writing and taking courses at university. I want something to keep me active,” he said.

Mayes’ announcement about retirement came two days after former finance minister Jim Flaherty died of a heart attack. The 64-year-old had resigned as minister last month.

Mayes says that the death of Flaherty and the loss of friends and acquaintances has reinforced his decision to retire and consider “every day as a blessing.”

Mayes admits that he will miss being an MP once the term comes to an end.

“Serving people in the constituency and seeing things get done, like the swimming pool in Armstrong, and knowing you and your staff played a part in that happening that’s where I get my high,” he said.

While there isn’t an election until late 2015, Mayes says he decided to announce his intentions now so the Conservative Party has time to find a candidate.

“It gives people in the riding time to look around the community and say, ‘This would be a good person for the job.’”