Rumors of Quebec’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, were confirmed this today that he would not be a candidate in the October 1 provincial election.
After seven consecutive terms as deputy for Jacques-Cartier, in the West Island of Montreal, Mr. Kelley said he left politics “with the feeling of accomplishment”.
While he admits that there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal communities, he is “convinced that society is on the right track”.
Geoff Kelly is the 17th Liberal MNA that has decided to call it quits before the October run. Speculation as to the reason why so many are jumping ship is that even though the Liberals have been in power for 13 of the last 15 years they are polling consistently behind the Coalition Avenir Quebec.
Another reason could be a change in the legislature that occurred in late 2015, removing the automatic right to a cash payment for retiring politicians. Quebec politicians are granted a transition pay based on their salary and time served in office.
Politicians at all levels are granted this allowance, including municipal elected officials. A seasoned politician in cabinet is eligible to receive up to about $167,000 at the end of their mandate. Before the change in policy, some members would run for an additional term and quit before the end of the term, collect the money. Today members can only collect the allowance if they complete their time in office.