Another day, another veteran Manitoba politician stepping down.
MLA Reg Helwer, who has represented Brandon West for a dozen years, announced Friday on social media that he won’t be seeking re-election this fall.
Helwer, the province’s labour, consumer protection and government services minister, joins nine of his Progressive Conservative colleagues in the Manitoba legislature who have decided not to run again.
In a statement on Twitter, Helwer said he’s proud to have represented the area for 12 years, and is stepping aside to spend more time with family.
Like a number of his colleagues, Helwer said he intends to help a PC candidate replace him in the riding, in hopes of forming a third consecutive Tory government. He called the current upheaval in the party an “exciting period of renewal, with fresh ideas and new faces.”
The growing list of MLAs stepping down before October’s election — which includes cabinet ministers Eileen Clarke, Cliff Cullen and Alan Lagimodiere — coincides with unenviable polls for the Tories, including regular surveys from the Angus Reid Institute naming premier Heather Stefanson Canada’s least-popular provincial leader.
The party did, however, pick up a recent victory in a December byelection in Kirkfield Park, where former city councillor Kevin Klein won a tight race for the PCs.
Stefanson, who is currently on vacation, said in a statement Thursday that her departing caucus members had let her know of their intentions in advance.
Manitoba’s provincial election is scheduled for Oct. 3.