Former cabinet minister Cox joins group in Tory caucus not running again


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Former cabinet minister Cathy Cox has added her name to the growing list of Tories choosing to leave their legislature seats rather than take another run at the ballot box.

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Former cabinet minister Cathy Cox has added her name to the growing list of Tories choosing to leave their legislature seats rather than take another run at the ballot box.

The Kildonan-River East MLA said Thursday she will not seek re-election after serving close to seven years as the representative for the Progressive Conservative stronghold in northeast Winnipeg.

“Only God can foresee our future,” Cox wrote in a statement. “Life is short and there are no guarantees in this world.”

PC caucus spokesman Cameron Eason said Cox was not doing interviews Thursday.

Cox is the ninth PC MLA to confirm they will not ask voters to send them to the legislative assembly in the upcoming general election, scheduled for Oct. 3.

Roblin MLA and Speaker Myrna Driedger confirmed her retirement on Wednesday. A day earlier, Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere said he would not run again owing to “personal family reasons.”

Other MLAs who are calling it quits in October are deputy premier Cliff Cullen, Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke and backbenchers Ralph Eichler, Ian Wishart, Blaine Pedersen and Dennis Smook.

Public opinion polls have put the PCs far behind the New Democratic Party, led by Wab Kinew, which has 46 per cent voter support, according a recent Probe Research survey. The PCs trailed with 35 per cent support.

Cox was first elected in 2016 in River East and was re-elected in 2019 in Kildonan-River East. The electoral district was created in 2019 and combined much of Kildonan and River East, the latter being held by the Tories since 1986.

Former premier Brian Pallister appointed Cox to cabinet in August 2017 as minister of sustainable development, a position she held for 15 months.

She later served as minister of sport, culture and heritage and as minister responsible for status of women before Premier Heather Stefanson shuffled her to the backbench.

Cox thanked Pallister, who resigned his seat in October 2021, for the “confidence and special trust he placed in me” and for the privilege of serving on executive council. Cox, who endorsed Stefanson in the PC leadership race, did not mention the premier in her statement.

“Serving my constituents and the people of Manitoba has been an honour of a lifetime. I am forever grateful and humbled for the opportunity to represent the hard-working families of Kildonan-River East in the Manitoba legislature,” she said.

In the coming months, Cox said her work as MLA will be her priority and she will work to ensure the community remains Tory blue.

At times, being in government was tumultuous, she said. However, her most memorable experiences were meeting “many remarkable Manitobans.”

The grandmother to three girls said it’s the right time to step away from public life and “enjoy more precious moments with our family and friends.”

In a statement issued Wednesday, Stefanson thanked exiting PC MLAs for their dedication and service to constituents and wished them well. MLAs previously made her aware of their intentions, she said.

The party is welcoming “new dynamic Manitobans” to its team, Stefanson said, pointing to MLAs Kevin Klein and Obby Khan, who won recent byelections, and new candidates running in the general election.

“I look forward to welcoming even more talented individuals to represent Manitobans across our province, as we continue the important work to build a stronger, more prosperous future for all Manitobans,” her statement concluded.

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.

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