Four UCP MLAs announce they’re not running again

 James Wood James Wood
More from James Wood

A former Tory cabinet minister and a Wildrose stalwart are among four United Conservative Party MLAs who won’t run in next year’s provincial election.

UCP Leader Jason Kenney announced Friday that Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Wayne Drysdale, Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier and Little Bow MLA Dave Schneider had chosen not to be candidates in 2019.

Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA Scott Cyr announced earlier this week he would not run again.

Stier was first elected as a Wildrose MLA in 2012 and was one of five members not to take part in the mass floor-crossing to the then-Progressive Conservative government in 2014, winning re-election in the following year’s vote that saw the demise of the Tory dynasty.

While the UCP has a strong chance to win government in 2019, Stier said it’s the right time for him to step away from politics.

“Next year, I’m going to be a certain age where people think of retiring,” the 64-year-old Stier said in an interview.

“I think two terms is a proper amount of time to serve, and as things change, I think it’s important to look at renewal and giving someone else the opportunity.”

Schneider, who is about to turn 61, also said his decision was entirely personal and that he “looked forward to becoming a citizen again.”

Schneider was a last-minute candidate for the Wildrose in the 2015 election amidst the disarray following the floor-crossing and he acknowledged he didn’t necessarily expect to become an MLA.

He won by only 10 votes, the closest race in the province in 2015.

“It was a very nice surprise and it’s been a great ride,” said Schneider.

Schneider would have faced two challengers for the UCP nomination in the new riding of Cardston-Siksika, but he said that did not play a role in his decision.

Under redrawn boundaries in place for 2019, Cyr would have had to face off against MLA Dave Hanson for the UCP nomination in the new Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul constituency.

Cyr was also first elected as a Wildrose MLA.

Drysdale, first elected in 2008, was the only former PC among the group of retirees. During his time in office, he served in the portfolios of transportation and infrastructure under Tory premiers Alison Redford, Dave Hancock and Jim Prentice.

An emotional Drysdale said serving as an MLA had been an “honour.”

“Not many people get to represent their community and have a little bit of a say to develop this great province. It’s an institution that I’m proud to have been part of.”

Cyr was the only one of the four MLAs who supported Kenney in last year’s UCP leadership race, but Stier, Schneider and Drysdale all said they got along well with the former MP.

Kenney, who declined an interview request, said in a news release that each of the men are “devoted public servants.”

With files from Emma Graney

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: