Mount Royal MP Will Continue to Serve until Election
Long-time Liberal MP Irwin Cotler today announced February 5 that he will not be a candidate in the next election, stating “I have enjoyed the honour and privilege of serving my riding, Parliament, and the Canadian people as a whole for close to fifteen years. I look forward to completing my mandate and continuing the pursuit of justice in other arenas.” The next federal election is widely expected in 2015.
“When I first ran in 1999, I viewed coming to Parliament as a temporary sabbatical from being a law professor and human rights lawyer; however, given the support and encouragement of my family, constituents, and Parliamentary colleagues, I continued to serve in Parliament, which I consider to be one of the highest forms of public service,” explained Cotler. “Later, Prime Minister Paul Martin invited me to join his cabinet as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. I am particularly proud of my time as Minister, during which I introduced Canada’s first law to combat human trafficking, crafted the Civil Marriage Act – landmark legislation that extended marriage equality to gays and lesbians while at the same time guaranteeing religious freedom – and made the quashing of wrongful convictions a priority.” Cotler was also the first Minister of Justice to democratize the process of appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In Opposition, Prof. Cotler remains a very active Parliamentarian, introducing numerous bills and motions annually. “It is a privilege and an honour to serve in Opposition as well, working with Members of all parties to advance the causes of justice and human rights for all,” Said Cotler. His initiatives have included both international and domestic concerns, including: chairing the Save Darfur Parliamentary Coalition; founding and leading Iran Accountability Week; promoting compliance with the Charter of Rights and the rule of law; protecting women’s rights, minority rights, and the rights of Aboriginal Canadians; and, seeking to ensure evidence-based public policy in the matter of criminal justice.
“I will remain a vocal and engaged Member of Parliament, serving constituents until the next general election. Beyond that, I look forward to remaining active in public life, lecturing and writing on the issues of the day, advancing the causes of human rights and international justice, and advocating on behalf of political prisoners – efforts in which I have been engaged for over thirty-five years,” continued Cotler, “I would be remiss if I did not thank as well the staff, interns, and volunteers who have served me so ably over the years, and am most appreciative for their devotion and hard work.”