Tony Clement will not be running for re-election in October.

The long-time Parry Sound-Muskoka MP made that announcement today. He says he’s come to this decision after spending the last several months on his personal and family’s well-being.

“I’ve had a lot of time to consider a 25-year career in elected politics over the last few months and I think it’s time to move on and give someone else a chance to have the greatest job in the world which is Member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka,” Clement reflected in an interview with MyParrySoundNow.com

Clement is proud of the political career he’s put together, having held both provincial and federal seats, as well as cabinet positions.  He’s been Parry Sound-Muskoka’s MP since 2006. When it comes to his accomplishments in office, he points to local achievements as the highlights of his career.

“I look at it from two different perspectives. I had 16 years of cabinet experience, 10 years federally and six years provincially, and I participated in very important things.  I helped balance the federal budget as President of the Treasury, I helped save the auto sector as Minister of Industry. When I was the provincial health minister I worked with many great health professionals to deal with the SARS outbreak.

“But to me always the biggest thing was helping people locally. Being part of the local community, helping to build our communities, to create more jobs, more opportunity, to help people when they needed help. That’s always a huge part of the job and you can never forget that. It doesn’t matter how many cabinet positions you have, if you can’t help people in your community then you’re not doing your job.”

Specifically, Clement says things like the economic development in the region, such as the build-out of broadband and new businesses opening, and tourism through the G8 Summit as things he is proud to have been a part of.

“When I look back and I see the changes in Parry Sound-Muskoka, the new opportunities, the people working together to build their communities, being part of all of that has been the greatest thrill.”

When asked if there was anything he wishes he could have accomplished during his time in office that he didn’t, Clement said he’s focusing on the positive.

“I think there’s always things you can look back on and say ‘could I have done that differently or done something better?’ yeah sure, I’m sure there are those kinds of situations, but as the song says ‘regrets I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention’.”

He did seem to briefly touch on the sexting and extortion scandal that came to light last November though.

“I don’t live by my regrets. I’m a fallible human being who’s made mistakes, we all know that. But, at the same time, after 25 years of elected politics, I feel that I’ve accomplished something for the next generation.”

He said he recognizes and appreciates all the people locally and across the country who have supported him in the last few months and that they’ve helped him emerge as a better person and that his personal life is back on track after the crisis he created.

Clement intends to stay on until his term is over at which point he good-humouredly said he’d be looking for a job and would like to go back to the small business sector like he was doing before he was elected. He added he’d be supporting both his Conservative party and his leader in the upcoming election.

In conclusion, Clement said he doesn’t want to overstay his welcome, and that he’s had a lot of encouragement from people for him to run again but believes it’s best to call it a day with that sentiment still in people’s minds.