Indigenous reconciliation minister Alan Lagimodiere won't seek re-election in 2023
Not an easy decision, but family must come first, Selkirk MLA says, announcing his departure from politics
Another member of the governing Progressive Conservatives is not seeking re-election in 2023.
Alan Lagimodiere, Manitoba's Indigenous reconciliation and Northern relations minister, said he won't let his name stand in the general election slated for the fall, citing "personal family reasons."
"This was not an easy decision, but I must put my family first. I am proud to see the talented candidates that our PC Party is attracting, with fresh ideas and new faces," the Selkirk MLA wrote Tuesday on Twitter.
Lagimodiere added he would work alongside the party's next candidate in Selkirk to ensure the PCs hold on to the seat.
Due to personal family reasons, I will not be seeking re-election in Selkirk. This was not an easy decision, but I must put my family first. I am proud to see the talented candidates that our PC Party is attracting, with fresh ideas and new faces.<br> <br>Thank you, Selkirk.<br>1/3—@AlanLagimodiere
Lagimodiere also commended Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson as the "best leader to lead our party and this province in another victory."
A longtime veterinarian and Selkirk resident, Lagimodiere was first elected in 2016, when he defeated the NDP finance minister Greg Dewar. Lagimodiere took a seat in the Manitoba Legislature as part of the former premier Brian Pallister's first Progressive Conservative majority government.
Lagimodiere was re-elected handily in 2019.
Lagimodiere is Métis but had a rocky debut as Indigenous reconciliation minister in 2021, when he suggested residential schools were founded with good intentions.
He was quickly taken to task, but a political scientist said the MLA worked to make amends.
"After that, he kind of showed himself in a good light. He apologized, he phoned up people in the community," said Christopher Adams, an adjunct professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba.
Lagimodiere later said he believes the schools that Indigenous children were forced to attend were part of a genocide.
The two-term MLA's withdrawal from provincial politics could spell trouble for the Tories' chances at retaining Selkirk, a swing riding north of Winnipeg. The NDP has nominated teacher Mitch Obach to challenge for the seat.
More than a fifth of the PC caucus members that entered 2022 — eight of 36 MLAs — have bowed out of the next provincial election.
Former Kirkfield Park MLA Scott Fielding resigned last March, while Eileen Clarke (Agassiz), Cliff Cullen (Spruce Woods), Ralph Eichler (Lakeside), Blaine Pedersen (Midland), Dennis Smook (La Verendrye) and Ian Wishart (Portage la Prairie) have stated they will not seek another term in the Manitoba legislature.
The general election is scheduled for October 2023.