Ted Menzies, a popular southern Alberta Conservative MP who already had signalled his intention to resign in 2015 when the next election is called, jumped the gun by resigning this week.
The former prairie farm leader announced his decision to end a nine-year parliamentary career yesterday, effective Nov. 8.
It opens the safe Conservative seat of Macleod south of Calgary to a byelection within the next six months.
Menzies, a former Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association president and a leader of efforts to promote trade deals and reduce protectionism, was elected to the House of Commons in 2004.
He was minister of state for finance before indicating in the summer he would not run again, taking himself out of contention for a position in the new cabinet.
He was a strong advocate of the end of the CWB single desk but managed to cultivate friends on both sides of the political spectrum.
Prime minister Stephen Harper paid rare tribute to the 61-year-old four-term MP who operated a grain farm at Claresholm, Alta., before his election to Parliament in 2004.
“With a strong background in agriculture and international trade, Ted has served in a number of key positions,” Harper said in a statement yesterday. “In all of these functions, he has earned the highest respect not just of me but of all his colleagues in Parliament. Ted’s expertise, insight and exemplary work ethic will certainly be missed as our government continues to work towards providing economic stability and financial security for Canadians.”
As junior finance minister, Menzies worked with provinces in trying to negotiate new national pension rules.
Last year, he relished the moment when he rose in the House of Commons to vote to end the CWB monopoly.
He also was president of an early version of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, promoting international trade deals and an end to protectionism.
However, once in Ottawa, he also found himself following Conservative government orders to support supply management with its high protectionist tariffs.