Scott Fraser, the NDP MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim, has announced that he will not seek re-election in the next provincial election.
Fraser, who has served as an MLA in B.C. since 2005, made the announcement on Monday, Sept. 14, while speculation that a provincial election is on the horizon has heated up.
“It has been a privilege and honour to serve as the MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim the last 15 years,” Fraser posted on social media. “I want to thank the people of this constituency for putting their confidence and trust in me.”
Fraser, 62, said it feels right and that he is ready for someone else to take the reins.
“I’ve been wrestling this for a while. It’s my 16th year and the average time for an MLA in British Columbia is about five and a half years. I’m about triple that. We’ve done 2005 elections and then three more since,” said Fraser, who served as the mayor of Tofino from 1996 to 1999.
“My wife Dolores and I have parents back east who are all in their eighties and I just think it’s probably the right time to go. It’s a four-year commitment every time,” he said.
Fraser spent his first three terms in opposition, but after the NDP took power in 2017, Fraser was sworn into the NDP cabinet as the minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. In that role, Fraser said he has been learning how much he “doesn’t know.”
“The issues are so complex. And from the ministry’s point of view it’s all complex. There are so many issues. There are 204 First Nations communities in this province and you are responsible for all of them,” he said.
Fraser said forming government under the leadership of Premier John Horgan “was a feeling that I will never forget. Bringing in legislation that will forever change the Province will stay with me for the rest of my life. We are the first jurisdiction in Canada to bring in legislation on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we have invested over $15 million in childcare and funded over 200 homes in Mid Island-Pacific Rim.
“We have worked outside the box to get projects such as the Bamfield Road financed. We’ve built playgrounds, brought in a poverty reduction strategy, eliminated MSP premiums, banned big money in politics, worked in true partnership with First Nations and invested in education, clean energy and healthcare. I have been so immensely proud and honoured to be in cabinet working for all the people of British Columbia. These are memories that will forever stay with me.”
Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns, who has worked alongside Fraser on multiple issues, said it will take him a while to absorb the announcement.
“Scott has done some really pioneering work in our region to help bring people together. Our region, we are working together collectively at all levels of government with local mayors and chiefs and Scott has been a big part in bringing us all together. I would say we are more aligned than we ever have been. We are in the same canoe going in the same direction to better the lives of people,” said Johns.
“It’s been a privilege and an honour to work with Scott. He’s been a great leader and a personal friend. I understand it’s time for him to get some valuable time with family after almost 20 years in politics.”
Fraser was the second NDP cabinet member on Monday to announce he will not be running again, following Doug Donaldson’s announcement that he will not seek re-election.
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