COLLEAGUES bade farewell to retiring Michael MHK David Cannan at his last House of Keys sitting.
Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan paid tribute to Mr Cannan, who is stepping away from politics after almost 29 years.
Mr Rodan said he wanted to put on record his appreciation for Mr Cannan’s long public service to the people of the island and the people of Michael in particular.
He recounted Mr Cannan’s time as Treasury Minister, chairman of the Water Authority and Speaker of the House of Keys, as well as his numerous memberships of boards, government departments and Keys and Tynwald committees.
‘Whether political friend or foe, no-one can deny David Cannan has been a master of political arts and process and a dedicated campaigner, whether a vocal fighter for constituents or as a robust debater,’ said Mr Rodan. ‘David Cannan could never be accused of hiding his light under a bushel.’
Mr Rodan concluded by wishing Mr Cannan a long and happy retirement.
Mr Cannan said he was ‘rather moved’ by the Speaker’s words.
‘It has been a great privilege to have served this House, to have served the government, both in support and in measured opposition, and it’s been a privilege also – the greatest privilege of all – to have been Speaker of this House,’ he said.
In a varied career, Manx-born and King William’s College-educated Mr Cannan worked as a manager in the tea and rubber plantations of Ceylon and Malaysia after completing his national service.
He was in the Far East for 11 years, then moved to England in 1967, being elected a Conservative councillor in the Berkshire rural district council of Bradfield, outside Reading. He returned to the Isle of Man in 1980.
When he announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election to his Michael seat, he blasted the present government as the worst he had seen during his long career in Manx politics. He also said it was time, at the age of 74, to give a younger person a crack at the whip.
‘I’ve seen six governments and I would rate this as number six – the worst I’ve seen,’ said Mr Cannan of the Tony Brown administration. ‘There doesn’t seem to be any leadership. There is a decline and dissatisfaction, there is a feeling of stagnation, that this is a government not going anywhere. I’m concerned for the future prospects of the island, I’m concerned that finances are being used for political purposes.’
His son, Alfie Cannan, is standing for the Michael seat. Businessman Mr Cannan, 43, is so far facing two opponents in the fight for election – they are businessmen Paul Heavey and David Talbot.