Percy Hatfield to retire from politics next year

Photo of Windsor Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield at Labour Day Rally September 4, 2017. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

One of Windsor-Essex’s representatives at Queens Park will call it a career next spring.

Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield announced Friday afternoon that he will not run again in next year’s provincial election, effectively announcing his retirement from politics.

“Serving as the MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh has been a great honour and I am deeply grateful for the trust placed in me by my constituents over these past eight years, but I believe it is now time for me to step aside and make room for new voices from our community,”  Hatfield said in a statement released Friday.

A former print and broadcast journalist, Hatfield entered politics in 2006 when he was elected to Windsor City Council. A member of the NDP, Hatfield was elected to the Ontario Legislature in a 2013 by-election, succeeding the retiring Liberal Dwight Duncan. He was easily reelected in 2014 and 2018.

Among the accomplishments by Hatfield while at Queens Park was the creation of Ontario’s first Poet Laureate. He had also served as the Deputy Speaker in the Legislature.

Hatfield said he wants to spend more time with his family and allow someone else to push Windsor-Tecumseh’s issues in Toronto.

“My retirement makes room for diverse new voices to step forward and continue the work of making our community and our province a better place to live. I am excited to pass the baton to the next MPP, who I am certain will be a fearless and hardworking New Democrat,” said Hatfield. “I look forward to spending more quality time with Gale and our six wonderful grandchildren.”

Hatfield’s retirement is getting reaction from a would-be rival. Andrew Dowie, the riding’s PC candidate, said Hatfield has earned respect across the political spectrum.

“Time and time again, I’ve witnessed firsthand the quality of his character,” said Dowie, a Tecumseh town councillor. “Never afraid of challenging disrespect and treating those around him with dignity and poise, he has embodied in both Windsor City Council and the Ontario Legislature the best human qualities one can show in representing our community.  His thoughtful voice was heard by governments of all political stripes, and he was and continues to be, highly respected by his peers and his constituents.”