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Two B.C. NDP cabinet ministers say they won’t run again as election rumours swirl

British Columbia Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson meets with federal and provincial ministers to discuss their response to the B.C wildfire in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday September 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ben Nelms.
British Columbia Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson meets with federal and provincial ministers to discuss their response to the B.C wildfire in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday September 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ben Nelms.

Two ministers in B.C. Premier John Horgan’s cabinet have announced they will not run again in the next provincial election.

Scott Fraser, Indigenous relations and reconciliation minister, and Doug Donaldson, forest and natural resources minister, both released statements on Monday saying they will not run again as MLAs.

At an unrelated news conference earlier in the day, Horgan continued to fuel speculation on a fall election and refused to rule one out despite repeated questions from reporters.

Fraser, who represents Mid Island-Pacific Rim, has served as an MLA since 2005 and in cabinet since 2017.

Premier John Horgan’s comments spark B.C. election speculation
Premier John Horgan’s comments spark B.C. election speculation

“Over the past year, I have had many discussions with those close to me about my decision not to seek re-election,” Fraser said.

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“It was a tough call to make because I love my job, but I realize it is time for me to spend more time with my loved ones and allow space for the leaders of tomorrow to step forward.”

Fraser was the lead minister in the province’s dispute earlier this year with Indigenous leaders around the Wet’seweut’en territory in northern B.C. and the Coastal GasLink pipeline. He also led the effort to bring in the historic United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples legislation back in November.

Read more: British Columbia becomes 1st Canadian province to pass UN Indigenous rights declaration

Donaldson has served the riding of Stikine since 2009. The 63-year-old has served as forests minister since 2017.

“After 22 years in public life, it’s time to get back to the balance of spending more time on the land with family and friends, both in the backcountry and at home on Gitxsan territory,” he said.

An early election call in B.C. may be too good of an opportunity to pass up
An early election call in B.C. may be too good of an opportunity to pass up

They join Social Development Minister Shane Simpson and Finance Minister Carole James, who announced they are not running again as well.

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It is unclear whether Horgan will have a cabinet shuffle before the next provincial election, whenever it may be called.

The premier fended off media questions at the news conference by saying his party has been planning for an election since they were elected in 2017, as any political party would.

“I’m going to continue to focus on the here and the now,” he said. “What can we do today to make life better for British Columbians? What can we do today to keep British Columbians safe? That’s what people have asked me to do and I’m going to continue doing that.”