Ed Komarnicki has announced his current term as the member of Parliament for the Souris-Moose Mountain constituency will be his last.
Komarnicki released a statement last week saying he has informed the local constituency association that he will not seek re-election in the next federal election. In making the decision early in his term, Komarnicki said it gives the association more than enough time to get a candidate in place for the 2015 election.
The Estevan resident, who was first elected in 2004, said the decision was not an easy one but he felt the timing was right.
"There is always some reservations and regrets, but my sense told me that the time had come for me to make a decision from a number of perspectives," Komarnicki said during an interview Thursday. "A bunch of my board has been with me since 2004, some people have changed over the years, but I wanted to be sure they had an early opportunity to know what my intentions were and had an opportunity to transition and decide if they want to go forward with all of the processes involved in the candidate selection. I think if I had hung in there and not made a decision until 2014 or 2015, we would really have been strained in terms of getting things done.
"I knew I had it within me to do another candidate battle and election, but I would have to draw pretty deep. As a politician you have to sense when the time is right and what your best before date is and in my mind 2015 was that date."
Although the decision was not an easy one, Komarnicki said he is happy to leave on his own terms and with no regrets.
"I never really was a career politician. I said initially I was more of a lawyer than a politician. I said I would go for 10 years and then have a look at it and by the time my term is up in '15 it will be more than that. At some point you've got to make that decision. I did and we'll go from there."
Komarnicki was first elected in 2004 when he bested a field of candidates that included former Saskatchewan premier and Estevan MLA Grant Devine. His nomination as the Conservative Party candidate was a controversial one as Devine had also put his name forward to be the Conservative candidate but was disqualified by the party. Devine contested the decision in court but was not successful in his challenge and eventually decided to make an unsuccessful run as an independent, finishing a distant second to Komarnicki.
That 2004 election was the only year when Komarnicki faced even a modicum of adversity.
The 63-year-old former lawyer ran again in 2006, 2008 and 2011 and won by a landslide on each occasion in what has traditionally been a Conservative leaning constituency.
Although he was not appointed minister during his time in office, Komarnicki did serve as the Parliamentary secretary to the minister of Citizenship and Immigration from 2006 to 2008 and was the secretary to the minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the minister of Labour from 2008 to 2011.
He was also very successful in helping to secure federal funding for local projects such as the heavy truck bypass around Estevan and the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute. Komarnicki also played a key role in helping Spectra Place become a reality, working behind the scenes to secure $5.2 million for the project which was matched by the provincial government.
He added other highlights were his speech about the definition of marriage before Parliament voted on the topic, the ending of the federal long gun registry and the ending of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly.
On a local level, Komarnicki said he enjoyed working on behalf of his constituents.
"(It was nice) being able to see some results for people and happy faces on the other side," he said. "Not always could you be successful in your representation and many times you weren't successful, but they were happy with the fact you tried and when you were able to accomplish something, you could see the sense of that and that gave me a lot of satisfaction over the years."
Komarnicki said he also enjoyed working on infrastructure and seeing how he could tap into federal projects for Souris-Moose Mountain's various needs.
Although he has announced his retirement from Parliament, Komarnicki said he will remain active and engaged over the remainder of his term and noted that infrastructure will continue to be a major focus.
"All governments, whether is cities, towns, villages, RMs will always have infrastructure as an issue so whenever we have programs we try to think which community to help along. I know some of the major projects that I had felt important for Estevan, I was able to see come to pass or at least are in the process of. The only thing that hasn't come to fruition, and I don't know if there will be an opportunity or not, is the underpass or overpass across the tracks. I don't know about that one. It would be nice to see that happen, but I have no basis to suggest that it might. I'll just keeping working for the constituency."
Komarnicki will also remain busy as the current chairman of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.
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