‘This is and will always be home’: MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith on not seeking re-election

The Liberal MP shared thoughts on his plans for the future, and the state of federal politics

Liberal Member of Parliament Nate Erskine-Smith
Office Constituency of MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who announced he is not seeking re-election. (Austin Kelly/Toronto Observer) 

Beaches-East York Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith is not running for re-election in the federal riding he has held since 2015, but he says he isn’t leaving being active in his community behind.

A Liberal MP for Beaches-East York since 2015, Erskine-Smith made the announcement in a post he released on his Substack blog in early January that he would not be seeking re-election.

In his Substack, Erskine-Smith said he would be stepping down to stay closer to home to his family, finishing his current tenure as a Member of Parliament during the current government.

Beaches-East York is an area that has continued to show its support for the Liberal Party, having mostly held the riding federally since 1993.

Erskine-Smith received a 56.58 per cent majority in the riding in the 2021 election.

Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon hosted a winter levee in January. (Nathaniel Erskine-Smith/Facebook)

Arriving on the scene in the 2015 federal election, Erskine-Smith was a member of a youthful movement coinciding with the leadership of 43-year-old Liberal party leader, and later Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Erskine-Smith, then 31, was a part of a group of prominent younger Liberals from Toronto such as MPs Ahmed Hussen, Marco Mendicino and Gary Anandasangaree, who went from rookie newcomers to trusted Ottawa leaders in Trudeau’s cabinet, now in the later stages of the PM’s third term in the country’s highest office.

Seen as a moderate voice within the Liberal government, willing to be a dissident on principle, Erskine-Smith recently dipped his toes into provincial politics. He entered the race for Ontario Liberal Party leader, placing second in December 2023 to eventual winner, former Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

Erskine-Smith told The Observer he has no current plans to seek any political office for the time being, but says he is “open to the idea” in the future. Erskine-Smith will continue his role as the MP for Beaches-East York until the next federal election, currently scheduled to take place in 2025.

Erskine-Smith to devote time to local area, support new candidates

Erskine-Smith said he still plans to help out locally, and giving support to trusted MPs, while continuing to build the party’s continued successes in Beaches-East York, supporting local candidates, adding he will stay active in the political process “to support good candidates and to bring smart and compassionate people into politics.”

Asked about his thoughts on the Liberals to hold on to political power, Erskine-Smith said he still has faith in the Trudeau government’s ability to win the next election, despite recent polling showing an uptick to the rival Conservatives.

“Trudeau took the party from third to first and he’s led the party to three election wins. He’s made it clear that he’s ready to go, and I wouldn’t count him out.”

The Liberals face a difficult path forward to re-election, according to polling. 338Canada currently projects the federal Conservatives, led by Pierre Poilievre, on pace to win 203 of 338 seats in the next election, setting the Tories up for a potential majority government, with the Liberals dropping to 73 projected seats down from 157, the Bloc Québécois in 3rd with 36 and the New Democrats with 27.

338’s most recent polling projection for Beaches-East York has the Liberals ahead with 43 per cent, with the NDP second with 27 per cent.

Erskine-Smith served community well, riding chair says

Rishi Hargovan, chair of the Beaches-East York Liberal Riding Association, says Erskine-Smith’s dedication to the East York community will be remembered.

“I’ll be sad to see Nate go whenever the next federal election happens,” Hargovan said. “He’s served our community well by keeping his focus on everyday people in everything that he does.

“While the next Liberal candidate will have to do the hard work of winning voters’ trust in their own right, Nate will leave them an excellent example of strong, effective, local representation to build on,” he said.

While admitting the increased polarization of politics influences his decision for a potential re-election run, Erskine-Smith says he still believes in Canada’s ability for people to come together despite social divisions. “As a country, we agree on far more than we disagree. And there’s a lot of room to work together to improve people’s lives if we remember that.”

For the time being, Erskine-Smith said his focus is on being the community advocate he has strived to be since entering politics, not forgetting his role of not only serving the country, but for Beaches-East York as well. He hopes to continue the activism that motivated his first run, while watching his policies continue from the sidelines.

“I grew up here and I’m raising my own family here. This is and always will be home for me. We are lucky to have the active and engaged community that we do, and I couldn’t have been luckier to speak up for our community in Parliament,” he said.

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Posted: Feb 17 2024 9:00 am
Filed under: Government News Politics