Manitoba

Former Manitoba premier Brian Pallister resigns as MLA for Fort Whyte

Former premier Brian Pallister is resigning as member of the legislative assembly representing the riding of Fort Whyte in Winnipeg.

Pallister leaves seat he's held since 2012 as party gears up to vote in next leader and premier

Brian Pallister announced Aug. 10 that he would not be seeking re-election as premier. He announced on Monday that he is stepping down as MLA for Fort Whyte. (David Lipnowski/The Canadian Press)

About a month after stepping down as premier, Brian Pallister is now resigning as member of the legislative assembly representing the riding of Fort Whyte in Winnipeg.

He says the move is effective immediately, according to a statement this afternoon issued by Manitoba's Progressive Conservative party.

"It has been the greatest honour of my life serving the citizens of Manitoba these past nine years in the legislature," Pallister said in the statement.

Pallister said he decided to run for PC party leader on the eve of the 2011 election. He was first elected MLA for Fort Whyte in 2012, the same year he became party leader for the Tories.

He was voted in as Manitoba's 22nd premier when the PCs swept to power in the election of 2016, ending a nearly 17-year streak for the New Democrats.

He went on to lead the party to form two majority governments in 2016 and 2019.

"I believed I could lead a team that would fix the finances, repair the services, and rebuild the economy of Manitoba," he said in a statement.

Pallister stepped down as party leader and as premier on Sept. 1.

Blowback fuelled departure

He announced his imminent departure from leadership roles weeks before then as party support plummeted in the polls, and amid criticism from First Nations leadership, advocates and those within his own party over comments he made in July.

Statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on the legislative grounds were toppled during a large gathering there on Canada Day. The statues were pulled down on the heels of growing discoveries of unmarked graves associated with former residential school sites across Canada.

Pallister denounced those who toppled the statues and made statements suggesting colonization of Canada was done with good intentions.

Then-Indigenous and northern relations minister Eileen Clarke stepped down from her position two days later. She said many Manitobans were disappointed by the premier's remarks and that she and other cabinet ministers felt they were ignored.

During a party caucus retreat in Brandon on Aug. 10, Pallister said he would be stepping down as premier in the weeks ahead. He said he would remain in his MLA role for at least a few weeks to complete constituency work.

Kelvin Goertzen was appointed interim premier last month.

The PCs will elect a new party leader, and Manitoba's next premier, on Oct. 30 when they choose between former Manitoba cabinet minister Heather Stefanson and Shelly Glover, a former cabinet minister under prime minister Stephen Harper.

"I leave my seat in the legislative assembly excited to see Manitoba on the eve of having our first woman as premier," Pallister said in a statement. "I am confident that they will continue to represent the principles and values of our party, and seize the opportunities to lead our province in post-pandemic recovery."

The next provincial election is slated for 2023.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryce Hoye

Journalist

Bryce Hoye is a multi-platform Manitoba journalist covering news, science, justice, health, 2SLGBTQ issues and other community stories. He has a background in wildlife biology and occasionally works for CBC's Quirks & Quarks and Front Burner. He won a national Radio Television Digital News Association award for a 2017 feature on the history of the fur trade. He is also Prairie rep for outCBC.

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