Alberta cabinet minister Rajan Sawhney says she won’t seek re-election this spring

Click to play video: 'Rajan Sawhney announces bid for UCP leadership'
Rajan Sawhney announces bid for UCP leadership
WATCH ABOVE: Calgary-North East MLA Rajan Sawhney launching her campaign to be leader of the United Conservative Party – Jun 13, 2022

Alberta cabinet minister Rajan Sawhney, who was also a candidate in the United Conservative Party leadership race, has announced she will not seek re-election in this spring’s provincial election.

Sawhney is the minister of trade, immigration and multiculturalism. She was first elected in 2019 as the member of the legislature for Calgary-North East.

“Today, I met with Premier (Danielle) Smith to inform her that I will not be seeking the nomination and re-election for Calgary-North East. I will continue to serve as the MLA for Calgary-North East until the end of this mandate,” she said in a statement posted to her social media accounts Friday evening.

Last fall Sawhney, who served as transportation minister and community & social services minister in former premier Jason Kenney’s cabinet, campaigned for the leadership of the party against Smith and five other candidates.

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“Serving as the MLA for this constituency and as a minister of several portfolios, under both the Honourable Jason Kenney and Honourable Premier Smith, has been a tremendous honour and a great privilege,” Sawhney said.

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“I thank both of these great leaders for the opportunities they have afforded me to serve in their cabinets.”

During the leadership race, Sawhney was critical of Smith’s sovereignty act and said the now-premier should have waited for the scheduled general election this spring to seek a mandate from Albertans over the act.

Sawhney was also among those who went after Smith for stating in a podcast that responsibility for early-stage cancer is within a patient’s control.

Click to play video: 'Danielle Smith facing criticism over Stage 4 cancer comments'
Danielle Smith facing criticism over Stage 4 cancer comments

On Friday, Sawhney said she is still a strong supporter of Premier Smith and looks forward to the United Conservative Party forming government again after May.

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“I would like to thank my colleagues, my team, my supporters and most of all, my family for their unconditional and unwavering support over the past many years.

“Finally, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to my constituents in Calgary-North East for placing their trust and faith in me as their MLA.”

Sawney was born and raised in Calgary, gaining a degree in economics and political science at the University of Calgary along with a master’s degree in business administration.

Before politics, she worked for two decades on the economic and business development side of the oil and gas industry.

Sawney, who is 51, did not say what she plans to do after leaving provincial politics.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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