When James Moore announced in June he would not be seeking another term, the Conservative industry minister followed a line of cabinet ministers – John Baird, Peter MacKay, Shelly Glover – backing away from public life.
At the time Moore said he had “every confidence that Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper and our Conservative government will be re-elected.”
On Thursday, in an interview after he was named as the University of Northern B.C.’s sixth chancellor, Moore maintained he could not have known the Conservatives were flagging in support.
“There was one point where all three parties were tied at 30 points,” he said. “There were times each party was in lead and (it was) up and down. It was a historic election because it was so competitive for all three parties.”
Leaving politics was a personal decision, he said, echoing his June statement that noted he needed to focus on the his son Spencer, who has special needs and was facing health issues.
“Also I’d served five terms, I’d served 15 years,” Moore said. “I don’t think it’s healthy for a person to be in politics for too long and I don’t think it’s healthy for the system for people to just keep perpetually getting re-elected forever. I think it’s healthy for me and healthy for everybody for people to come in, make their contribution and leave.”
Despite that view, Moore doesn't think it was an error by Harper, who had been an MP since 2002 and prime minister since 2006, to vie for a fourth term as Canada’s leader.
“No. I mean, look, it’s in the hands of the voters and the public were given three very good choices for prime minister in Tom Mulcair, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau,” Moore said. “I think it was actually three very good, very distinct qualified choices and the public has elected a parliament that’s exactly what they asked for and hopefully it will mean good things for the country and the province.”
When asked what advice he’d give to his former colleagues in the Conservative caucus, Moore noted his position as chancellor is non-partisan, but he referenced a quote: “Amazing things can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit.
“So focus on the task of being a responsible opposition,” Moore said.
“Don’t be belligerent, work with the government, get goods things done,” he added. “There’s plenty of time to think of the next election when it comes around, but do your job of being representatives, be respectful to all of your constituents and work together on the challenges the country and the world faces.”
At 39, Moore has plenty of time to return to politics but it seems unlikely in the near future.
“I don’t know,” Moore said. “I suppose never say no but I’m very happy and very proud of the time I spent in public life but I’m very happy to be engaged in new challenges like contributing back to UNBC.”