B.C. finance minister says she won’t run for re-election in the fall

British Columbia's finance minister says she will retire after the provincial election this fall, having served in the legislature for nearly two decades. Finance Minister Katrine Conroy tables the budget in the legislative assembly at the legislature in Victoria, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito. CAH

British Columbia’s finance minister has announced she won’t be running again in the next provincial election after serving in the legislature for nearly two decades.

Katrine Conroy said it will be hard to leave the people she’s worked with over the years, but at 66, it’s time to step back to spend time with her family.

Conroy has held several portfolios under the New Democrat government and said it’s too hard to settle on a “greatest accomplishment,” but she’s especially proud of her work to waive post-secondary tuition fees for former youth in care.

She has also served as forests minister, and she thanked Premier David Eby and his predecessor, John Horgan, during the announcement on Friday, saying they “had the courage to appoint this rural woman to cabinet.”

Conroy was first elected in 2005 to represent West Kootenay-Boundary, then re-elected in 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2020.

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She said one of her sons had reminded her that a Conroy had been on ballots in the region since 1986. That’s when her late husband Ed Conroy first ran as a school board trustee before he too served as an MLA between 1992 and 2001.

“That’s 38 years of our family supporting both of us in public service to our communities,” Conroy said at an announcement in Castlegar in the southern Interior, her voice faltering with emotion.

“I have been here as an elected official since (2005) and vicariously through my husband when he was an MLA for 10 years.”

In addition to finance, Conroy currently serves as minister responsible for the Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and the Columbia River Treaty.

She said her work will continue until someone is elected to replace her.

While the NDP were in opposition before the 2017 election, Conroy was the critic for seniors and Interior economic development, among other roles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2024.

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