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Ontario health minister Christine Elliott will not seek re-election in June

Click to play video: 'Ontario health minister Christine Elliott announces she will not seek re-election' Ontario health minister Christine Elliott announces she will not seek re-election
WATCH: Christine Elliott announces she will not seek re-election – Mar 4, 2022

Ontario’s health minister and deputy premier says she is not seeking re-election for the upcoming provincial election.

Christine Elliott made the official announcement on Friday, almost three months before the election on June 2.

“After considerable reflection and discussion with my family, it is with deep gratitude for my 16 years in public life that I recently shared with Premier Ford I will not be seeking re-election in the upcoming provincial contest in June,” Elliott said in a statement.

She said up until the election she will continue to support the Ford government as health minister “without hesitation.”

Read more: Independent MPP Randy Hillier announces he will not run for reelection

Elliott has served as the government’s health minister since Premier Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives took office in 2018. She represents the riding of Newmarket-Aurora.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has tested us all, but none more so than our incredible frontline health care workers,” Elliott continued. “I want to express my profound admiration of and gratitude for all who provide care to Ontarians each and every day.”

“Finally, and most importantly, I must express my love and gratitude to my family for their unconditional support not only over the past almost two decades, but throughout the last 24 months in particular. Like many Ontarians, I would not have been able to do my job day in and day out without their support.”

Click to play video: 'Christine Elliott says she won’t run in upcoming Ontario election' Christine Elliott says she won’t run in upcoming Ontario election
Christine Elliott says she won’t run in upcoming Ontario election – Mar 4, 2022

Elliott’s announcement comes not long after another senior and high-profile member of Ford’s cabinet, Rod Phillips, not only said that he would not run in the election but also resigned last month.

Elliott was first elected to the legislature in 2006, but left politics for three years after losing the 2015 Progressive Conservative leadership race – one of her three attempts to helm the party.

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She said her community office manager for the past four years, Dawn Gallagher Murphy, is seeking to be elected for the PCs in the Newmarket-Aurora riding.

“I know that she will serve you well and I stand behind her completely,” Elliott said at a press conference with Ford.

Read more: High-profile Ontario cabinet minister Rod Phillips to resign seat, won’t seek re-election

Ford also thanked Elliott for her service calling her more than a colleague and a close personal friend for decades.

“Christine has been by my side since the start of the pandemic. She remains instrumental in helping steer Ontario through one of the most difficult periods in our province’s history,” Ford said in a statement.

“Her important work will help ensure that Ontario has a stronger and more resilient public health care system for decades to come. She has done so with grace, dignity, professionalism and compassion,” Ford said.

At least nine other Progressive Conservative members have announced they will not seek re-election. Over the past few years, Ford has also lost seven other caucus members, having them either resign or kicking them out.

— With files from Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

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