OTTAWA – Alberta Conservative backbench MP Ted Menzies, who last summer declared he wouldn’t run again in 2015, has announced his immediate resignation from the House of Commons.
The member for the riding of Macleod tweeted the news before releasing a more detailed statement thanking his wife, staff and long-time constituents for their support.
“The time has come for me to move on,” Menzies said, noting that his decision earlier this year to surrender his ministerial duties allowed him to focus on helping flood-ravaged residents of southern Alberta.
“I am retiring from politics but look forward to another exciting career ahead. Thank you all for the opportunity to proudly represent the most beautiful riding in Canada, and for the privilege to represent some of the greatest people I will ever know.”
In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanked Menzies for “many years of devoted service to his constituents of Macleod in the Parliament of Canada and for his tremendous contributions to our government.”
“Since his election to the House of Commons, Ted has been a strong voice and advocate for Alberta, and a valued member within our caucus,” Harper said.
Menzies, lauded on all sides of the Commons as a well-liked and respected MP, was first elected in 2004 and won re-election three times.
The 61-year-old farmer was named junior minister for finance in January 2011, but took himself out of cabinet consideration before last summer’s shuffle by saying he wouldn’t run again.
At the time, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty called Menzies “a great and trustworthy partner.”
Menzies also served as parliamentary secretary to a string of ministers during his time in office.
He was born in Claresholm, Alta., in 1952. He married shortly after high school and for nearly 30 years he and Sandy operated Section One Farm Ltd., growing wheat, barley, canola, field peas, lentils, chickpeas and spice crops.
In the late 1990s, Menzies moved into the business of agriculture and international trade, working with the Grain Growers of Canada, Western Canadian Wheat Growers and other industry groups.
His departure leaves the Conservatives with 160 Commons seats, the NDP with 100 and the Liberals with 34. The Bloc Quebecois has four and the Green party one, while there are four independents and four vacancies.