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Former Alberta NDP cabinet minister Deron Bilous will not seek re-election

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WATCH (Dec. 11, 2018): The Alberta NDP released details of its "Made in Alberta," program, which aims to get full value for the province's energy resources. Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous said the next steps involve a longer-term look at what the province can do to ensure the oil price crisis doesn't happen again – Dec 11, 2018

After 10 years as an Alberta MLA, which included four years in cabinet while the NDP was in government, Deron Bilous says he will not be seeking re-election.

“For me, it’s a matter of ensuring that I’m following my passion,” Bilous said in an interview with Global News to announce his decision, adding he will stay on until the end of his term.

“It has been an incredible journey and I’m going to work hard to help Rachel and the team form government again, which is in the best interest of Albertans — I believe that — but I think it’s time for a different role for me,” Bilous said.

After losing his first attempt at winning a seat in 2008, Bilous was elected as an MLA in 2012, helping form a four-person NDP caucus along with then-leader Brian Mason, Rachel Notley and David Eggen.

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The NDP had its electoral breakthrough in 2015 under Notley’s leadership, ending the 44-year Progressive Conservative dynasty and forming the first NDP government in the province’s history.

Bilous was named minister of Municipal Affairs and Service Alberta, before being tasked to serve as minister of Economic Development and Trade.

READ MORE: Gauging the government: How the NDP won in Alberta

During this time, the NDP government launched the Petrochemical Development Program, which helped attract Inter Pipeline’s Heartland Polymers project, which is beginning production this year.

His department also launched initiatives like the digital media tax credit and investor tax credit to help spur a new innovation economy.

“It was hard watching the UCP dismantle those programs,” Bilous said of the two tax credits.

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“Honestly, for me, that’s where I have the most frustration in our system is when ideology blinds people from sound decisions.”

Another career highlight for Bilous was a 2016 trade mission to Asia which included 150 Albertans from 75 businesses and business associations.

“In our four years in government, from 2015 to 2019, Alberta’s trade with Asia grew by almost $2 billion. I was very proud to be a part of that,” Bilous said.

READ MORE: Alberta Trade minister hails Asia mission a success

After the NDP lost the election to the UCP in 2019, Bilous was named the critic for Jobs, Economy and Innovation, keeping him involved in conversations with Alberta business leaders, which eventually led to his decision to not seek re-election and move into the private sector.

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“It has provided me the opportunity to meet so many amazing Alberta entrepreneurs and business leaders,” Bilous said. “That is where my interest has flowed.”

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