Alex Nuttall will not seek another term in the House of Commons.
The Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP officially announced Monday that he will not throw his hat into the ring for the upcoming federal election, which is set for later this year on Oct. 21.
Nuttall told BarrieToday he's stepping away from his position once his tenure is up in order to take time to focus on family and home life.
The 33-year-old father of two took time Monday morning to sit down with BarrieToday at his Alliance Boulevard office to explain his decision.
“It’s really hard to coach kids’ soccer when you’re in Ottawa most of the time,” Nuttall told BarrieToday. “My kids are three and five, and while I have long enjoyed serving the people in this region, I really need to be home and be there for the special moments I have been missing out on.”
Nuttall has been involved in the local political scene for well over a decade, having been Barrie’s Ward 10 councillor from 2006 to 2014 before becoming the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP in 2015.
However, Nuttall says he still has lots to do and will take time to weigh his options as he finishes up his term in office.
“If you have any job referrals for me, that would be great,” Nuttall joked. “Seriously, though, I come from the finance world and we will take a look at what’s available and make a move from there.
"I’ve got 13 years of elected service, another six of finance, so it is matter of finding the right fit," he added. "I do have six more months as a member of Parliament still, but I just felt it was important for people to know sooner than later so we could start the process to get the right candidates in place.”
As for the "right candidate," Nuttall believes the person best suited will get the job, mainly because he believes in the people trusted with making that decision.
“It’s not for me to determine who the right candidate is or isn’t, that’s up to the people of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte,” he said. “I believe firmly that the people are the ones who need to make the decision on these items.
"We happen to have a very talented pool here in terms of the riding with very talented people at the municipal level, and provincial level for that matter, that would make fantastic federal candidates," Nuttall added. "I know one of them will do incredibly well and I know there are people who are not in elected office who would consider taking a jump into that position.”
When asked what he remembers most fondly from his political career, Nuttall took a long reflective pause before getting emotional and telling BarrieToday one date sticks out in his mind most through not just his career, but also his personal life.
“When I was 11 years old and living in government housing on the south end of the city, it was Dec. 4, 1996, and we got a call that my grandmother had died in a car accident. It was also her birthday,” he said. “My mother had been through a state of mental illness followed by being hit by a car that year, so it was a tough time to begin with before my grandmother’s tragedy.
"Fast forward 10 years to the day and I was sworn in as a Barrie city councillor, followed by nine years to the day and I sat for the first time in my seat in the federal House of Commons," Nuttall said. "It is a date that stands out for me.”
Nuttall took a second to gather his thoughts before adding that, despite the connection of Dec. 4 throughout his life and career, there are also other dates on the calendar that carry an abundance of personal meaning.
“The reality is that the most important dates in my life are June 11, 2011, the day I got married, Sept. 23, 2013, which was the day Caleb was born, and July 7, 2015, when Annabella was born,” said a teary eyed Nuttall. “Getting through this decision-making process, you get to the point where you realize all the things that I’ve done just pale in comparison with what’s at home and what’s at stake at home. As you can tell, it is a little emotional, but I can’t wait to be with my family way more than I have been able to.”
While still a young man, Nuttall said there are things he feels are unfinished and believes that in maybe in six to 10 years, when his children are older, he may come back to political life in some capacity.
BarrieToday also asked Nuttall about his most recent political and social-media battle around his opposition to a safe injection/consumption site being proposed in downtown Barrie, which has had many people accusing the MP of getting ready for an election year.
“I’m sure everyone has seen the criticisms that I was playing politics, but the funny thing is I’ve known for a very long time that I wasn’t seeking re-election, so the opioid issue wasn’t about politics,” he said. “I guess if you’re asking me if I’m going to go away silently on an injection site in downtown Barrie, the answer is 'hell no'.”