SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, July 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Staunchly pro-life MP Maurice Vellacott has announced that he won't run in the 2015 federal election, citing family concerns and a desire to pursue other interests.

“After much deliberation, I have come to the decision that now is the right time to pass the torch,” Vellacott said. "At the time of the next election, I’ll be 60 years young, and in my 19th year as a Member of Parliament."

Vellacott has been the MP for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin for six terms, since winning his seat in 1997.

He is well known for his support of pro-life and pro-family initiatives and legislation and has consistently been given the "green light" by Campaign Life Coalition as a candidate fully supportable by pro-life voters.

Vellacott voted in favor of MP Stephen Woodworth's principled Motion 312 to study whether a child in the womb is a human being based on the preponderance of evidence from modern medical science.

He also voted against the second reading of the transgender 'Bathroom Bill' (C-279) which will put young girls and women at risk by creating a counterfeit, legal 'right' for men to access women's bathrooms and changerooms.

Vellacott's complete voting record relating to life and family issues is available here.

In a 2008 Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus press release concerning abortion as a civil rights issue, Vellacott said, "This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...Life is the most basic human right!"

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In the news release announcing his decision not to seek re-election, Vellacott thanked his staff in Saskatoon and Ottawa, his campaign volunteers, his riding association and Ottawa colleagues.

Noting that fellow Saskatoon MPs Kelly Block and Brad Trost were involved with his past election campaigns before running in their own successful elections, Vellacott said, "Saskatoon and area are in good hands with hopefully sitting MPs Kelly Block, Brad Trost, and Lynne Yelich winning nominations and 2015 elections."

He added, “For the fourth Saskatoon area seat, I’ll be able to confidently endorse, within a short time, a highly credible, experienced public figure, stepping forward to pursue the nomination.”

The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus (PPLC), which Vellacott co-chaired for more than a decade, will continue to be "in good hands in the astute leadership of Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge."

"I’m thankful to the good folk of the Saskatoon-Wanuskewin constituency who have elected me six times with an increasing percentage vote, almost 60 percent last time, with a solid majority mandate in the cities of Saskatoon, Martensville and Warman and also great support in the towns and on the farms northward up the valley and west as well. Thank you constituents!" Vellacott said.

"Whether people voted for me or not, it is my continuing privilege to assist them on federal needs and issues until October 2015. I, and my good staff in Saskatoon and Ottawa, remain available to serve in the days ahead," he concluded.

He explained that he wants to spend more time with his wife and his 11 grandchildren, help his 20-year-old son “who struggles with debilitating mental heath challenges,” work on his college courses and musical pursuits, and guide his young teen son – whom he refers to as the "caboose" of the family and who is an avid hockey player.

Vellacott added that he may also complete a law degree, teach at the college level, or re-engage in pastoral work.