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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:57 am    Post subject: NDP's Catherine Bell calls it quits in Vancouver Is North Reply with quote

( interesting the ndp lost a former mp and high profile candidate in a riding there competitive in )

NDP's Bell calls it quits
Ex-MP wants to dedicate time to her business

By Dan MacLennan, Courier-Islander January 5, 2011 Catherine Bell will not run for the NDP in the next federal election, the former Vancouver Island North MP confirmed Tuesday.

The NDP's loss is the Zocalo Café & Gallery's gain.

"I bought a small business last year and it's taking pretty much 999 per cent of my time," Bell told the Courier-Islander Tuesday. "It's a real lot of work and I just don't have the time to spend to be a proper candidate and I don't want to leave the party hanging. I want them to find someone who can commit the time that it needs to do a good job.

"This is another chapter in my life. It's the first business that I've ever owned and I want to make it work and be successful. I find that I'm really enjoying it and I just don't have the time to dedicate to being a full-time candidate, giving it what it needs."

Bell served as Vancouver Island North Member of Parliament from January 2006 to October 2008. Her announcement puts an end, at least for the time being, to one of the tightest personal political contests in federal politics. Bell narrowly lost to incumbent John Duncan in 2004, and narrowly defeated him in 2006 before losing narrowly to him in October 2008. Bell actually increased her vote in that election, but Duncan appeared to benefit more from a collapse in Liberal Party support. Bell returned to reclaim the NDP nomination for Vancouver Island North candidate in September 2009.

Bell said the decision to step down wasn't easy.

"I've been thinking of it for several months and it was really a tough decision, because I did enjoy being the member (of Parliament) for Vancouver Island North and I was really honored to represent the people of this area," she said from the Courtenay cafe Tuesday morning. "My business is consuming all of my time. I didn't feel right not giving it my all."

Bell took over the cafe in June, but the political realities of a minority government - including near constant election speculation - have added much more to the roles of candidates.

"That was a consideration," she said. "To be in election mode all the time is quite demanding. It's stressful, and this business is also demanding and stressful. It was just getting to be too much to do both.

"I was a candidate for a year and a bit. We thought there might be an election in the fall of 2009 but that didn't happen. Then we thought there might be one in the spring of 2010 and then again in the fall and it just became... people would say to me 'when's the election going to be?'"

The NDP's Vancouver Island North Riding Association is expected to meet this week to start the process of nominating a new candidate. Bell isn't expecting a shortage of people seeking the nomination.

"There are many people in the North Island who I think would be well suited to run for the NDP in the next federal election," she said. "I won't say any names but I know there are people out there that would probably look at the opportunity with a willing eye."

At the same time, Bell isn't completely closing the book on possible political dreams in the future.

"I'm not going anywhere," she said. "Never say never. I haven't thought about highlights because I don't see myself as being retired yet, but certainly a big highlight for me was getting to know so many wonderful people in Vancouver Island North and representing them.

"To have the privilege to sit in the House of Commons to represent the people of this country is a highlight in anyone's career. Not very many people get to do that job, so it's definitely something to think about."

While in office Bell held the NDP caucus critic portfolios for Natural Resources and Western Economic Diversification and was deputy critic for Fisheries, with responsibility for West Coast Fisheries. Bell was vice-chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

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NDP's Catherine Bell calls it quits in Vancouver Is North

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