Manitoba MLA, former cabinet minister Ralph Eichler won't seek re-election in 2023

An MLA and former minister in Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government will not seek re-election in the upcoming 2023 election.

Eichler was 1st elected in 2003 to represent the Lakeside constituency

Lakeside MLA Ralph Eichler, a former agriculture and economic development minister in the Manitoba government, has announced he won't seek re-election in 2023. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

An MLA and former minister in Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government will not seek re-election in the upcoming 2023 election.

Ralph Eichler said in the legislature on Tuesday that he will end his career there next year.

"I wanted to serve our great province. It's been an honour and privilege to be able to do that," he said in an interview after question period.

"I didn't get everything accomplished that I wanted to, but I feel very comfortable that now is the time for me to step back and let someone else have a run at Lakeside."

Eichler was first elected to represent the Lakeside constituency, just northwest of Winnipeg, in 2003, when the Progressive Conservatives were in opposition. He became a government minister when the PCs came to power in 2016, and remained in cabinet until early this year. He spent four years as the province's agriculture minister and also served as the economic development minister.

He is also a business owner and former administrator for the Interlake School Division, his ministerial biography on the provincial government website says.

Eichler said he's hoping to have time after politics to ride his motorcycle and visit his winter home.

"I'm 72 years old, so I want to be able to enjoy some of that stuff — my family and my grandchildren as well," he said.

Eichler says his decision doesn't have to do with his health.

"I did have a health issue a year ago, but my doctors have told me I've got the the body of a 40-year-old in the mind of a 72-year-old," he said.

He hinted at doing some consulting in the private sector in the future.

Most Progressive Conservative MLAs haven't announced their intentions for the 2023 election.

Scott Fielding, a former finance minister, resigned earlier this year, while Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke and former agriculture minister Blaine Pedersen have said they won't seek re-election.

The next provincial election must be held no later than Oct. 3, 2023.

With files from Ian Froese