10/31/2017 14:40 EDT | Updated 11/02/2017 19:23 EDT

Former Wildrose leader Brian Jean declines key role with United Conservatives

EDMONTON — Former Wildrose leader Brian Jean will not be taking an active role in the United Conservative Party Opposition at the Alberta legislature — at least for now.

Jean was not given a critic portfolio Tuesday by new United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney, but Jean said that was his wish.

"I advised Mr. Kenney at this time that I will be focusing on my constituency," Jean said.

"As a leader of the (former Wildrose) opposition and frankly since my son's death I haven't had time to concentrate on anything else.

"And as you know my house burned down 18 months ago (in the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire) and I haven't looked at (the new house) plans yet."

Jean took over the Wildrose in early 2015 at a time when his 24-year-old son Michael had died from lymphoma.

The Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA was asked if he will run again in the next provincial election, set for the spring of 2019.

"I'm not sure what the future holds for me," he said.

He said the decision will hinge on the direction of the party as it prepares for a founding convention in May.

Jean lost the leadership race to Kenney on the weekend for the party, which was formed in the summer when Jean's Wildrose and Kenney's Progressive Conservatives merged.

Kenney does not have a seat in the house and hopes that Premier Rachel Notley will soon call a byelection.

United Conservative member Dave Rodney is resigning his seat in Calgary-Lougheed on Wednesday to allow Kenney to run.

Kenney unveiled his caucus leadership team Monday, with former Wildroser Jason Nixon as the new boss in the house until Kenney gets a seat.

On Tuesday he released the new critic portfolios.

Medicine Hat area member Drew Barnes is the new finance critic while Fort McMurray's Tany Yao will handle the sprawling health portfolio.

Calgary MLA Prasad Panda is in charge of the energy file and Drayton-Valley Devon member Mark Smith will critique education.

Former Progressive Conservative interim leader Ric McIver is the caucus whip.