Long-time MLA Gord Mackintosh won't seek re-election
Justice Minister Gord Mackintosh will finish his term representing the St. Johns constituency before ending a 23-year career at the Manitoba Legislature.
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When Gord Mackintosh stepped into his crowded constituency office Friday afternoon to officially announce he would not be seeking re-election, he was beaming ear-to-ear.
A tie-less Mackintosh shook a few hands, kissed his last baby—remarking that it may indeed be the last, earning a laugh—and shared a few stories with the political types, constituents and media crammed into the space.
First elected in 1993, he explained that he previously conspired to make this exit from politics years ago—on the 20th anniversary of his entrance in September 2013.
But a sense of duty and service, a hope that he could do more with the portfolio he then had, and then more since, kept him from pulling the parachute cord.
The reporters gathered wanted to know if his choice to leave now had to do with where the NDP sits in the polls, trailing the Progressive Conservatives.
He said that’s not the case.
“I would relish that good fight,” Mackintosh said. “The current polls were one of the reasons in fact… that I thought would be enticing to stay on.”
Mackintosh thanked his family, his constituents, constituency staff, and colleagues from all parties, specifically noting that sometimes there’s a little too much partisanship—“fair game” in election season, he says, but sometimes an encumberance.
“I’ve always made it absolutely clear… a constituent problem from any MLA in that house has to be treated with equal dignity and priority, because we are here to serve everyone,” he said.
The dutiful MLA made sure to mention in his remarks that although he won’t be a part of the NDP’s future, he’s still got work to do in the house, major legislation to “shepherd” through, more work at hand to “protect Manitoba families” and children.
He also reminisced with Premier Greg Selinger—who lauded his contributions.
Selinger said Mackintosh’s early work in the justice portfolio with the lighthouses program created safe spaces, departing from normal justice minister efforts by doing “things that actually prevented crime” rather than just being “tough” on it.
He remarked that in his family services role, Mackintosh was responsible in no small way for helping expand daycare in schools and neighbourhoods, and for building more affordable housing.
As the Minsiter responsible for conservation Selinger said his good friend increased the protected areas, and his “Tomorrow Now” strategy informed the government’s climate change strategy.
He also counted “the family law bill and the domestic violence bill” as career achievements.
“These are things that make a life and death difference in peoples lives,” Selinger said to his 10-year seat mate in cabinet rooms and the house, the man he parked beside every day for years. “You’ve served us extremely well.”