After working for 25 years in federal politics, NDP MP Bill Siksay says he's not going to run in the next election.
Siksay, who represents Burnaby-Douglas, worked for 18 years for the former MP, Svend Robinson, before winning the seat himself in 2004. He was reelected in 2006 and 2008.
In a phone interview from Ottawa, Siksay told the Straight that he will remain an MP until the next election, but he doesn't know what he'll do after that.
"Part of the way I worked in federal politics is I was right in there," he said. "I wasn't thinking about what next. I don't have a backup plan. I don't have a big, fancy job offer. I really have to sit down and think about what it is I want to do now."
Siksay said that he has no plan to work in politics in the future. When asked if he is interested in running provincially in Burnaby-North—which has been held by B.C. Liberal MLA Richard Lee since 2001—Siksay replied that this is "very doubtful".
"I think as a politician, you're never supposed to say 'no'," he quipped.
Siksay said that one of his proudest achievements as an MP was his work on extending legal rights to transgender people
"I think having debated for the first time in the federal Parliament the human-rights situation of transgender and transsexual Canadians—and getting a majority of members of Parliament to agree that protecting them further in Canadian human-rights law is a good thing—is a real accomplishment," Siksay said.
His private member's bill would add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
In addition, gender identity and gender expression would be added to hate speech and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code.
Siksay said the bill has gone through committee and on December 7, it passed in a report-stage vote.
"Now, it goes on to another hour of reading at third reading and a vote," he added. "That will happen sometime in February or March."
Siksay said he also feels good about his efforts to promote nuclear disarmament.
"Last week, we got a unanimous-consent motion through the house that I was able to present on nuclear disarmament and encouraging Canada to pursue a number of initiatives there, including the negotiation of a nuclear-weapons convention," he said. "I'm proud of the work I've done on peace issues."
Siksay also made a name for himself with his efforts to prevent the use of security certificates to imprison people without due process.
"I think security certificates are outrageous and uncalled for," he stated. "And I think some of the work I did around indefinite detention without charge, conviction, or trial in Canada also felt very important to me."
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