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Penticton  

Siddon 'hanging up spurs'

RDOS Electoral Area D director Tom Siddon said he doesn't plan to seek reelection this fall, which will mark the end of a political career that spanned decades. 

"It's time to start thinking about doing what I can for the family as a priority instead of answering the phone and always going out to meetings, which is part and parcel of this job," Siddon said.

"I guess it's time to hang up the spurs."

The 76-year-old Siddon, who is a mechanical engineer by trade, began his political career more than 40 years ago. 

He was elected to city council in Richmond in 1975. Three years later, he was elected as a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament, and was elected for five-straight terms in the House of Commons between 1978 and 1993.

Siddon's legacy in federal politics will likely be remembered best from his time as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Soon after taking over that position in 1990, he handled the Oka Crisis land dispute in Quebec. Two years later, the agreement was made under him to create the new territory of Nunavut.

He retired to Kaleden in 1993 when he wasn't reelected to the federal cabinet. In 2008 he returned to the decision-making chair as a school board trustee for the Okanagan-Skaha School District.

After three years in that role, he was elected to his current seat at the RDOS table and will finish a second term this year.

"Politics has become a major part of my life... And to some extent, I'll miss the ability to interact and engage on the important questions of the people who elected me," Siddon said.

"While I still have the health to get up and walk around, I better do some other things... I think it's probably time to give a little time to my wife."

But with eight months ahead still in his political chair, Siddon hopes that a number of tasks can get done at the RDOS table.

One of those jobs is dividing Area D — which had a population of 5,874 in the 2016 census — into two areas, and creating a new Electoral Area I.

Area D would consist of Okanagan Falls and rural areas east of Skaha Lake, while Area I would include Kaleden, Apex and rural areas west of Skaha Lake.

Siddon said that decision is now in the province's hands and he suspects it will be approved by the end of March, which would allow time for candidates in those areas time to campaign for October's election.



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