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Ted Menzies prepares to leave politics

Wednesday, 21 August 2013. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Ted Menzies prepares to leave politics

Macleod MP Ted Menzies with Ginger Bradley, left, Isabel Russell and Lori Prentice at Crowsnest Museum on Canada Day. He always has a friendly smile and time to visit with his constituents. Brad Quarin photo

 

Ted Menzies prepares to leave politics

By Brad Quarin

Politics is often a divisive business, but some say Ted Menzies, MP for Macleod, is one politician able to rise above partisanship to serve the interests of his riding.

“He’s a great individual,” says Dick Burnham of Pincher Creek. He calls Ted helpful, considerate, a hard worker and a good representative.

Cliff Reiling of Crowsnest Pass says he was saddened by the recent news that Ted won’t be running in the next federal election. He feels it will be a loss for southern Alberta, but adds, “It’s definitely going to be better for his family.”

When his current term ends in 2015, Ted will have spent 11 years in federal politics, and he says he never intended to be a career politician. He feels he can find other interesting pursuits and has plenty he can bring to other fields of work.

After seeing the flooding of High River this year, he wants to devote himself to making sure such a disaster never happens again.

Dick and Cliff were both involved with Ted through the Lions Club.

Ted was a great Lion, Cliff says, as well as a strong supporter of farmers, Community Futures and the Alberta SouthWest Regional Alliance.

For Cliff, Ted’s work with MLA David Coutts during emergencies such as the Lost Creek fire stood out and was amazing to see. “The level of co-operation was just phenomenal.”

But he also recalls Ted visiting trade shows and parades as an MP, and says he was approachable, with a fantastic staff.

Parliament also voted Ted the hardest-working MP, Cliff says. “That really didn’t surprise me.”

Dick gives Ted credit for keeping his constituents informed and supporting economic development. He says it’s difficult to pick Ted’s most valuable contribution, except that he was always there when needed.

Dick calls Ted a good family man, and easy to get along with. Cliff calls him “so calm,” saying Ted could walk into a fight and get people talking.

For Ted, a farmer from Claresholm, politics was a different kind of work. “It’s very interesting,” he says, and he’s met “some amazing people” he probably wouldn’t have in agriculture. He’s also made new friendships.

The biggest challenge has been time management, he says, since an MP has to be away from home for 200 days a year. In cabinet, that becomes 300 days. But he’s tried to make time for his wife, Sandy, and says she’s patient.

Ted served as minister of state for finance from January 2011 until July 2013.

One of his proudest achievements is his fight for “untied aid,” which he calls a more efficient way of providing foreign assistance.

After 11 years in politics, Ted also feels that staying the same person, having “remained a credible personality,” is an achievement by itself.

 

 

From the August 14, 2013 print edition of Shootin’ the Breeze. Browse through this week’s online edition by clicking the link above and remember to support the advertisers who bring you the Breeze each week!

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