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Jay Hill's exit spurs election speculation

Jay Hill, the Conservative government House Leader, announced Wednesday he will not be running in the next election.

The news is bound to prompt new speculation about a fall vote and also a cabinet shuffle - not that there hasn't been a fair bit of that floating around Ottawa already.

Mr. Hill, the MP for Prince George-Peace River in British Columbia, has been in politics for 22 years starting as one of the first elected members of the Reform Party in 1993.

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He told the members of his riding association about his decision on Tuesday night.

"I've always felt that for politicians the time to go is when things are still going well … when you've reached the crest of the hill, but before starting down the other side. For me that time is now," Mr. Hill said in a news release issued on Wednesday.

"I must ensure that those to whom I owe my greatest loyalty and immense gratitude, and who have always been there to support me through seven federal elections and all the years in between, have sufficient time to select the next Conservative candidate for our great constituency."

Before coming to politics, Mr. Hill was a president of the B.C. Grain Producers Association and a director of the B.C. Federation of Agriculture.

Mr. Hill first ran as a Reform candidate in the 1988 federal election. He is known for his smarts and his sense of humour but also his toughness and his loyalty to the Conservative Party.

In opposition, Mr. Hill served many roles including whip, House leader and was the critic for a number of portfolios including justice, agriculture and national defence.

"It was always my intent that, whenever I decided that the passion for partisan politics was on the wane, that it would be time to exit," Mr. Hill told Moose radio, his local station, on Wednesday.

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He said he and his wife would be moving to Calgary where two of their three adult children currently live.

"I am going to continue to seek out gainful employment," said Mr. Hill, who added that he is excited about the next phase of his life post-politics. "I hope to be able to contribute in other ways, other than through public service."

Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore posted a message on Twitter after Mr. Hill's departure was announced saying: "Jay Hill is principled, tough, loyal and a good man. He is the best parliamentarian our party has ever known, and one of the best ever."

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Mr. Hills pension upon retirement will amount to $110,269 per year.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

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