Blair Lekstrom, a B.C. MLA for almost 12 years, confirmed Tuesday he won't be running again in the next provincial election.
Two of his Liberal caucus colleagues -- Joan McIntyre, the MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, and Rob Howard, MLA for Richmond Centre -- also made their intentions known on Tuesday to forgo the spring campaign.
A string of announcements by more than 10 sitting Liberal MLAs means that Premier Christy Clark is losing almost 30 per cent of her caucus. Polls show her party continues to sink in popular support.
"I leave to pursue new opportunities in life and want to again thank Premier [Christy] Clark for her support. I know that she will continue to lead this province in a positive direction," he said in a statement released by the Liberal caucus.
"Always remember this, on our worst day here in British Columbia, we will still have it better than 90 per cent of the world will ever enjoy on their best day," Lekstrom added.
Lekstrom was first elected in 2001 in Peace River South. Before being appointed transportation minister in 2011, he served as Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and Minister of Community Development.
Clark thanked Lekstrom for his 19 years of public service late Tuesday.
"Well regarded by members of both sides of the house, Blair’s outgoing positive personality transcended party lines," Clark said in a statement. "He will be missed greatly by staff and all MLAs."
Before joining provincial politics, he was the mayor of Dawson Creek.
FULL STATEMENT BY BLAIR LEKSTROM
Having served nearly 20 years in elected office – three years as a city councillor, five years as mayor of Dawson Creek and close to 12 years as MLA for Peace River South – I am announcing that I will not be seeking re-election in the 2013 May provincial election.
I have been honored to serve the people of my riding and this great province; and I am proud of the work I have done on their behalf. I have had the opportunity to serve under two premiers, both of whom I want to thank for their support and commitment to helping build a stronger province for all.
I am proud to have served as Minister of Community Development and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Development under Premier Campbell and most recently as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure under Premier Clark. I have enjoyed all of these portfolios and have always done my best to ensure that I served the public's interest in each of them.
I want to say thank you to my cabinet and caucus colleagues for all of their hard work and dedication and most importantly for their friendship over the years. I also want to thank my colleagues from the opposition side of the house, many of whom I have developed friendships with, and in some cases have even seen some issues from the same perspective.
Politics can be an unforgiving profession, but I have always believed that – whether you are on the government side of the house or on the opposition side – we are all here because we believe we have something to offer which will make our province a better place, not only for the people today, but more importantly we want to build a better province for our children, grandchildren and future generations.
To government employees and the entire staff of the Legislative Assembly, I want to thank you for all that you do on behalf of British Columbians. Your work in many instances goes unnoticed, but without all of you we would not have the province we have.
Thank you to the residents of Peace River South for their continued support over the years. I am truly honored and humbled to have served as your Member of the Legislative Assembly. This has been an incredible experience filled with challenges and opportunities and certainly a job that has changed my life in so many positive ways.
A special thank you goes to my family for all of their support over the years. Without their continued support, none of what I have been able to help accomplish in office could have been possible.
I leave to pursue new opportunities in life and want to again thank Premier Clark for her support. I know that she will continue to lead this province in a positive direction.
Always remember this, on our worst day here in British Columbia, we will still have it better than 90 per cent of the world will ever enjoy on their best day.
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