Alberta jobs minister Doug Schweitzer quits cabinet, will resign seat soon
Minister already announced in May he would not run in next general election
Alberta's jobs minister is leaving politics even earlier than planned.
Doug Schweitzer, in a brief message posted on social media, says he has resigned from cabinet as the minister for jobs, economy and innovation.
And he says he will resign as the United Conservative Party legislature member for Calgary-Elbow by the end of the month.
Schweitzer had already announced in May he would not run in the next general election, slated for May 2023.
A byelection must be called within six months of a seat opening.
He did not give a reason why he was leaving early but noted the last six to 12 months have been "the economic turning point for Alberta."
The province's finances are in much better shape, with the price of oil bringing billions of dollars back to Alberta's bottom line, he said.
"To my supporters and team members, thank you," wrote Schweitzer in the message posted late Friday afternoon.
"I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together over these many years."
Premier Jason Kenney, in a statement, said: "Doug played an important role in the creation of the United Conservative Party," adding, "his contributions to Alberta's government have helped set Alberta back on the path of economic growth and prosperity."
It was an honour to serve alongside <a href="https://twitter.com/jkenney?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jkenney</a> and my colleagues. <a href="https://t.co/E1fx9WwpM9">pic.twitter.com/E1fx9WwpM9</a>—@doug_schweitzer
Schweitzer is a lawyer with deep roots in politics.
He was a longtime conservative strategist in Manitoba, and in Alberta he managed the 2014 leadership campaign of former premier Jim Prentice.
He came in a distant third to Kenney in the 2017 race to become the first leader of the UCP. He then served in Kenney's cabinet as justice minister before moving to the jobs portfolio.
Schweitzer's decision comes as the party moves toward an Oct. 6 vote to replace Kenney as party leader and premier.