Premier thanks Friesen for service and dedication


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Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson offered well-wishes to longtime Tory MLA and cabinet minister Cameron Friesen, who intends to resign his seat to seek the federal Conservative nomination in Portage-Lisgar.

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Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson offered well-wishes to longtime Tory MLA and cabinet minister Cameron Friesen, who intends to resign his seat to seek the federal Conservative nomination in Portage-Lisgar.

“I want to wish my friend and colleague Cameron Friesen and his family all the best as he pursues a new opportunity,” Stefanson said in a statement Friday.

The premier was unavailable for an interview owing to a call with the Council of the Federation on Friday afternoon, her press secretary said. Stefanson chairs the premiers’ council, which will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in early February to discuss health-care funding.

“Cameron has held important roles on our team and in government, and I want to thank him for his service and dedication to the people of Manitoba.”

Friesen was first elected to represent people in Morden-Winkler in the legislature in October 2011. In government, he served as minister of finance, civil service, health, seniors and active living and justice under former premier Brian Pallister.

Stefanson appointed Friesen minister of finance and minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro in January 2022.

Friesen was previously nominated by the Progressive Conservative party to run in Morden-Winkler in the general election set for Oct. 3.

A spokesperson for the PC Party said information about a new nomination meeting in the Pembina Valley constituency will be shared with the local association, and local media will be informed when a candidate is selected.

Stefanson is expected to shuffle her cabinet in the coming days after multiple Tory ministers announced they would not seek re-election in the fall.

“I am excited about the renewal and energy within our party, and we continue to be focused on listening to Manitobans, taking action on their priorities and building hope and opportunity for the future,” she said in the statement.

Friesen will be vying for the Parliament seat currently held by Conservative Candice Bergen, who announced in September she would not seek re-election.

Friesen’s former assistant in Morden, Liz Reimer, announced earlier this week that she was seeking the Tory nod in Portage-Lisgar.

She wouldn’t say if she plans to drop out of the race now that her former boss has thrown his hat in the ring.

“I have a number of things to consider before making a decision,” Reimer said in an email.

Former MP Lawrence Toet has expressed an interest in taking a run in Portage-Lisgar. So has Rejeanne Caron, who ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in two Winnipeg ridings in the last two federal elections.

Manitoba Sen. Don Plett, a confidant of Bergen, said earlier this week that he and the MP had discussed Friesen as a possible nominee. He said he dismissed that notion because Friesen had already secured the Progressive Conservative nomination to seek re-election provincially in Morden-Winkler.

“I really do not have any further comment,” Plett said.

The province said Friday it would be postponing a pre-budget consultation scheduled in Winnipeg on Monday. A meeting set for Tuesday in Steinbach will proceed as planned.

NDP finance critic Mark Wasyliw said Friesen’s decision to pursue federal politics is a sign of “chaos and dysfunction” in the provincial government.

“Instead of fixing health care and putting together a budget that helps families, the PCs are scrambling to find a new finance minister right in the middle of budget preparations,” the Fort Garry MLA said.

— with files from Carol Sanders

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.

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