"TOUGH." That's how former member for Clarence found it when he was standing on the sidelines during the city's protest against State Government's downsizing of the Grafton Jail last year.
"It was hard, but I had to realise my time in politics was over," Mr Cansdell said.
Mr Cansdell had no comment to make on the performance of his successor Chris Gulaptis, but said the rallies reminded him of the protests against plans to close the Agricultural Research Station.
"I loved my eight-and-a-half years in the job, but there's a new generation now," he said.
However, Mr Cansdell has found a new calling in working with disadvantaged kids in Ukraine.
After two months working with the children, the former politician said he was tempted to move there to do it full time.
"I was over there when winter was coming - and it's really winter over there - and I was due to come home," he said.
"Then I thought about the winter and coming back to Grafton for summer and reality kicked in."
Mr Cansdell worked with former Graftonian Andrew Ford in 2010 and went back last year.
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