Alberta’s finance minister says he will not run in the upcoming provincial election.
Travis Toews ended months of speculation by making the announcement on Twitter.
He did not elaborate on his reasons but says he remains deeply committed to the United Conservative Party and the conservative movement.
Toews was elected in 2019 for the UCP and was finance minister for all but a few months when he ran to replace former premier Jason Kenney as party leader, coming in second to Premier Danielle Smith.
Toews, a rancher and accountant representing the constituency of Grande Prairie-Wapiti, oversaw the best and worst of Alberta’s turbulent oil and gas-powered economy — massive deficits, negative oil prices and eye-popping surpluses.
He stickhandled many controversial files, including de-indexing personal income tax, arguing for wage cuts to nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and lifting the rate cap on auto insurance.
He was also among those who were surreptitiously photographed in 2021 at a drinks and dinner on a rooftop patio on the legislature grounds in contravention of COVID-19 gathering rules.
Toews looked born to the part of outdoorsman/number cruncher: close-cropped hair, eyeglasses and well-worn cowboy boots with a trademark monotone speaking style occasionally punctuated by high-decibel, finger-pointing attacks on the Opposition during question period.
He could not be immediately reached for comment on not seeking re-election.
The decision comes a little over a month from when the writ is expected to be drop for a scheduled May 29 election.
Toews had refused to discuss his future in recent weeks, saying he was focused on passing the budget, which featured a projected $2.4-billion surplus along with increased spending virtually across the board.
“After much deliberation and prayerful consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election,” Toews wrote in a letter posted to social media.
“I do, however, remain deeply committed to the conservative movement, to the United Conservative Party, and to its success this May.
“It has been an honour to serve.”