'Time becomes very precious after that'

Liberal MP Albina Guarnieri, currently the longest serving woman in the House, has been diagnosed with MS and will be stepping aside whenever the next election is called.

Full statement from Michael Ignatieff after the jump.

“Albina Guarnieri has served the community of Mississauga East for twenty-two years and caps her political career as the longest serving woman in the history of the House of Commons. It’s a testament to her unswerving dedication and political skill that since 1988, she has been re-elected six times, each time with overwhelming support in the riding she knows so well.

“Yesterday, Albina informed me of her decision not to run in the next election and of the personal health challenges she is facing. Though she will be missed in Parliament, I am certain she will bring the same determination to her fight with Multiple Sclerosis.

“Over her long career, Albina served as Minister of Veterans Affairs, Associate Minister of National Defence, and Minister of State (Civil Preparedness).

“In her role as Minister of Veterans Affairs, Albina declared the year 2005 as Canada’s Year of the Veteran. She ushered in the New Veterans Charter, a monumental transformation of veterans benefits and the first legislation of its kind in fifty years. This Charter sets out the responsibilities for care and support owed to each our veterans on their return to civilian life and is a living document that we must continue to build on to this day.

“Ms. Guarnieri has made a personal contribution to advancing issues as diverse as retraining older workers, supporting lifelong learning, fighting identity fraud, lowering income taxes to help Canadian families, and toughening our laws against child pornography and serious violent crimes.

“I am honoured to resume our Parliamentary session next week with such a distinguished colleague on the Liberal benches, but her presence will be sorely missed come election time. On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary caucus, all of our thoughts are with Albina, her husband John and their family at this time.”

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