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Abbotsford MP Ed Fast to retire from federal politics

First elected member of Parliament for the Conservatives in 2006
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Abbotsford MP Ed Fast, shown here during the Canadian Walk for Veterans in Abbotsford on Sept. 23, 2023, has announced his retirement from federal politics. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Longtime Abbotsford MP Ed Fast has announced his retirement from federal politics as of the next election.

Fast informed the Conservative Party of Canada on Wednesday (March 13) that he will not seek re-election in October 2025. He released the information publicly on Thursday.

“It has been more than 18 years that I have served as Abbotsford’s representative in Parliament, and it’s now time for the next generation of leader to step forward and represent the residents of our community,” Fast said in a prepared statement.

“I have asked our party leadership to begin an open and fair process to choose that leader.”

Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong announced his retirement from provincial politics on Feb. 14 and said he had been approached to run as a Conservative candidate in the next federal election, but that he hadn’t yet made a decision.

RELATED: Abbotsford MLA Mike de Jong to retire from provincial politics

Fast said the Conservatives have assured him there is “no preferred candidate” for the soon-to-be-created riding of Abbotsford-South Langley.

“I sincerely hope that our party members will choose a person who has consistently lived out Conservative values during their life and is committed to serving our community with integrity and distinction,” he said.

“I fully expect that person to soon join a Pierre Poilievre-led Conservative government.”

Fast co-chaired former Quebec premier Jean Charest’s unsuccessful bid for party leader in September 2022. Fast stepped down as the Conservatives’ finance critic in May of that year. (He has also served as the shadow minister for environment and industry.)

He and Charest criticized Poilievre for saying, if elected, he would fire Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem over the country’s inflation rate. Fast said the comments hurt the party’s credibility on economic issues.

RELATED: Ed Fast out as Tory finance critic after criticizing leadership candidate Poilievre

Fast said, although he is exiting federal politics, he will continue to “remain engaged” in local and national affairs.

He got his career start as a lawyer, graduating in 1982 and then co-founding the law firm currently known as Linley Welwood.

Fast was elected to the Abbotsford school board in 1985, serving two terms, and then to city council in 1996, serving three three-year terms.

He has been an MP since winning the 2006 federal election with 63 per cent of the vote. He suffered a stroke in December 2016, but announced in January 2017 that he was recovering well and was planning to return to work.

Fast said his career highlights include his time as chair of the standing committee on justice and human rights and his role as former prime minister Stephen Harper’s longest serving international trade minister.

He said, during that time, the Harper government negotiated free trade and investment agreements with more countries than any former or current federal government. These included agreements with the European Union, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and South Korea.

Fast said he believes Harper “will go down in history as one of Canada’s greatest prime ministers.”

He also cited as other highlights the passage of his private members’ bill C-277, which doubled from five to 10 years the maximum prison sentence for child luring, and his efforts to push back on the Liberal government’s expansion of assisted suicide to Canadians whose only condition is mental illness.

Local projects Fast was involved in include flood protection improvements, the Highway 1 interchanges at McCallum and Clearbrook roads, the spray park at Mill Lake, border and Abbotsford Airport improvements, and millions of dollars for youth gang-prevention activities.

Fast thanked his wife of more than 40 years, Annette, and his four daughters and sons-in-law for “making the sacrifices” that enabled him to serve the community and country.

“Without their support, this great adventure would never have been possible,” he said.

RELATED: MAID: Abbotsford MP’s bill to remove mental health provisions fails