It’s with a bit of regret that Comox Valley MLA Don McRae has decided to step down from politics when his term ends in May, 2017.
There’s no major crisis behind his decision. He simply wants to spend more time with family and friends in the community he loves.
“It’s been a very interesting and enjoyable job and experience,” McRae said. “I find it so ironic that you run to represent the Comox Valley, and sometimes you’re lucky enough to be in Cabinet, and yet those two jobs take you out of the Comox Valley so very much.
“My wife (Deanne) has been phenomenal for seven years. My oldest daughter (Gracie) has never not known me not in politics, and the youngest daughter (Chloe) was born after I got the job. Being the MLA, you don’t get to be here very much. I miss my community.”
Sharing the news well ahead of term’s end enables the Liberal Party and the electorate to become acquainted with new candidates who will run for office.
McRae has informed Premier Christy Clark — who was saddened but understands why he is leaving — and his caucus. But at 46, he has plenty of time ahead in the workforce.
“I still have a lot of work left in me.”
Before entering provincial politics, McRae had served on Courtenay city council. He had also spent 15 years teaching at Vanier Secondary, where he attended high school. He hopes to continue his employment with the Comox Valley School District, from where he took a leave of absence in 2009 when first elected MLA.
He also hopes to help some of the larger education groups.
“Maybe have a better conversation with government,” he said. “I find right now the education community has a lot of good people in it. They have some very important issues. I think education is very good at talking to education, but when it comes to talking to government…after my seven years on the job, I wouldn’t mind helping them have a better conversation with government.
“It can be a very confusing sector,” he added, noting Comox Valley issues can differ significantly from other B.C. school districts. But he realizes many districts are in declining enrolment.
“Sadly, for the last 40 years, there’s been so much politics intertwined with education. I think every group, whether it’s the boy scouts or the mining industry or education, they need to make sure that government is aware of their issues, good and bad, and put forward their case in the best way possible. If they want some help doing that, it’s something I’d like to consider on top of my teaching position.”