It’s the end of an era in Sault Ste. Marie politics.
David Orazietti announced Friday he is stepping down after 13 years as Sault Ste. Marie's member of provincial parliament.
The 48-year-old is leaving Kathleen Wynne's cabinet effective today. He currently serves as Ontario's Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
He will be stepping down as the Sault's MPP effective Dec. 31.
Orazietti told reporters at his Great Northern Road office he is leaving politics to spend more time with his family.
He told reporters he informed Premier Kathleen Wynne of his intentions following Wednesday's cabinet meeting.
A by-election, to elect a new Sault Ste. Marie MPP, must be called within six months.
“It’s been a very difficult decision…but my time away from home has continued to grow with the demands of work and I have missed many events in my childrens’ lives and I need to be in Sault Ste. Marie, and I’m excited about being back in Sault Ste. Marie to be able to spend more time with my family,” Orazietti said, with his wife Jane and two children at his side.
“I want to thank the residents of Sault Ste. Marie from the bottom of my heart for the four elections and the 13 years that they supported me through,” Orazietti said, also thanking his constituency office staff for their work.
Orazietti said he will be discussing his future professional plans with his family over Christmas.
Orazietti said he feels his biggest accomplishments as a member of the governing Liberal party over the past 13 years have been in healthcare and education.
“We had two older hospitals on the waterfront, we didn’t have the radiation therapy here locally (in 2003)…the investment the province has made in healthcare in Sault Ste. Marie has been significant,” Orazietti said, referring to the new Sault Area Hospital, a decreased doctor shortage, a nurse practitioner-led clinic and other initiatives.
“In the education sector there have been some very significant changes…I think of Algoma University, the newest university in Ontario and there’s considerable potential there, there are new schools (for both the ADSB and H-SCDSB),” said Orazietti, a former high school teacher.
The greatest challenge he’s faced as MPP?
“I would say, as a northern MPP, and looking at the 107 ridings, with more ridings being added in the GTA, the ongoing challenge will be for northern members to see resources from the province flow into their communities…that has been my challenge for more than 13 years.”
Orazietti's full statement can be read here
Premier Kathleen Wynne has also issued a statement
“I want to congratulate David Orazietti on being such a successful representative for Sault Ste. Marie,” said Sault MP Terry Sheehan, speaking to SooToday.
“His tenacity, his ability to get the job done, was amazing, and I appreciated his support and endorsement when I ran for MP.”
“A lot of what he does and how he represents, putting the Sault first, fighting for every inch, is something he has done and something I try to emulate,” Sheehan said.
“To David, Jane and the children, I wish them all the best, they deserve the time together they are going to have now…he will be sorely missed, as he and I worked very closely together on a number of items when I was a city councillor and school board trustee.”
“The first thing that comes to mind is his service and for his successes. We thank him for those,” Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano told SooToday.
“Whatever side of the partisan divide you sit on, or whether or not you sit on one side of the partisan divide, I think that anybody who is rational and objective has to recognize David has had some tremendous successes for our community and you can see his mark across the community. You can see his marks in infrastructure, our hospital and our nurse practitioner clinic,” Provenzano said.
To read Provenzano’s statement, click here