Brian Pallister’s tenure as premier of Manitoba will officially come to an end this Wednesday.
The Progressive Conservative leader had already announced his departure in July, but hadn’t said exactly when that would be.
“I don’t think there’s a better time than now to step aside, so I make that decision today. I think both decisions are the right ones then and now,” he said while announcing the move on Aug. 10. “Now it’s time to move on and spend some time with the people over the years who I have missed, including my friends and family.”
Pallister’s last months as premier weren’t short of controversy — especially when it came to Indigenous issues.
First, his response to the toppling of queen statues in Winnipeg on Canada Day was seen as historically inaccurate.
“The people who came to this country before and since didn’t come here to destroy anything — they came here to build,” Pallister said at the time.
Nine days later, Pallister’s Indigenous relations minister Eileen Clarke resigned stating her voice was not heard from leadership and that damaging language will not lead to reconciliation.
Roughly a week later, Alan Lagimodiere was sworn in as the new Indigenous minister. At his first speech in the position, he defended residential school architects saying they had good intentions.
Opposition Leader Wab Kinew stepped in to interrupt saying, “I cannot stand here and accept you saying what you said about residential schools. It was the expressed intent of the residential schools to kill the Indian out of the child.”
Indigenous leaders from across the province celebrated Pallister’s resignation.
“On behalf of MKO (Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak), we are pleased to hear confirmation that Brian Pallister will not seek re-election for the position of Premier of Manitoba,” said Acting MKO Grand Chief Shirley Ducharme in a release.
“We look forward to working with a leader who is fully committed to truth and reconciliation and working with First Nations in a good way.”
A handful of people have stepped up to run for premier including former families minister Heather Stefanson and former police officer and Conservative MP Shelley Glover.
The PC Party will select its new leader on Oct. 30