2 Sask. Party cabinet ministers resigning

Less than a week after former deputy premier Don McMorris resigned from his cabinet positions, two more Saskatchewan Party ministers are stepping down.

Environment Minister Herb Cox and Economy Minister Bill Boyd have asked to leave cabinet

(l-r) Environment Minister Herb Cox and Economy Minister Bill Boyd are both stepping down from their positions on cabinet. (CBC)

Less than a week after former deputy premier Don McMorris resigned from his cabinet positions, two more Saskatchewan Party ministers are stepping down.

On Friday, the provincial government said Environment Minister Herb Cox and Economy Minister Bill Boyd have asked to leave when Premier Brad Wall shuffles cabinet later this month.

Last week, McMorris stepped down from cabinet after being charged with impaired driving.  

Boyd, a founding member of the Saskatchewan Party, asked Wall not to consider him for a cabinet position, saying it is time to take a step back and let others have a chance to serve in cabinet. 

"There's a natural evolution that has to take place in any political party and this one's no different," he said at a news conference at Waskesiu Lake, Sask. on Friday. 

"I think it's time that we have that transition take place." 

Boyd plans to continue serving the people of the Kindersley constituency as MLA. He was first elected in 1991 and has served in every cabinet since the current government was first elected in 2007.

Premier Wall said it's difficult to lose one of his most experienced cabinet ministers, noting that the party would not exist without Boyd.

"Obviously that's a huge hole in our organization but I accept his decision and respect his decision," he said.

"He's integral, he's the only reason the party's here."

Cox having cancer treatment 

Cox's departure comes in light of health concerns regarding his bout with bone cancer. Cox was first diagnosed in 2011. Early this year his cancer returned and he's been receiving chemotherapy treatment. 

The province said Cox is heading into stem-cell treatment starting this month and has asked to leave his cabinet position when Premier Brad Wall shuffles cabinet later this month. 

"I have gone through this treatment once before a few years back and I know it would make it extremely difficult to continue to perform my duties as a cabinet minister," Cox said in a media release.

Despite his health concerns, Cox said he felt fine and his energy levels were good. He added he was looking forward to continuing to represent the Battlefords constituency as MLA.

Caucus retreat 'very good'

Wall made the announcement at the end of the party's annual caucus meeting at Waskesiu Lake, which is about 250 kilometres north of Saskatoon. 

He said the caucus took the opportunity to discuss "transformational changes" the party said it would make after the release of its June budget. 

The recent impaired driving scandal that led to the resignation of the former deputy premier was not a key discussion point during the retreat, Wall said. 

"We had a brief discussion on former minister McMorris and then we got down to work. This is a very good team and we're honoured to be able to serve the people of Saskatchewan," he said.

Kind words and criticism from NDP

The leader of the Opposition NDP, Trent Wotherspoon, extended kind thoughts about the health issue Cox is facing.

"We wish Herb Cox well in his battle against this horrible disease," Wotherspoon said. "We've all been touched by cancer and fighting it obviously goes well beyond partisan politics."

Wotherspoon also spoke about Boyd's departure from cabinet, asserting that the former minister "should have been kicked out of cabinet a long time ago."

The NDP said they will have more comments to make about Wall's new cabinet, when the shuffle is complete.

"We will wait and see what the cabinet shuffle looks like," Wotherspoon said, adding a critical statement about the Sask. Party government in general.

"More and more, from hiding from blame for oil spills to refusing to help create jobs, not telling the truth about their mismanagement and resulting deficit, and shamefully cutting funding for Saskatchewan's most vulnerable see this Sask. Party being more interested in helping themselves and their friends than the people of Saskatchewan," Wotherspoon said.