July 19, 2024
Though the odds still favour an NDP win, the prospect of four more years under the thumb of this premier’s office probably made it easier for cabinet veterans to see the virtues of retirement.

Premier David Eby’s centralized control may play a role in sudden cabinet resignations

Resignations of three ministers this week was a surprise, because of the timing and because two had said they’d run again

VICTORIA — NDP cabinet ministers Bruce Ralston, Harry Bains and Rob Fleming announced their retirements this week, inviting speculation about their timing and reasons.

The announcements came just 15 weeks before the election scheduled for Oct. 19, which is later than usual in the electoral cycle for incumbent ministers to be heading for the exit.

Two other NDP ministers and five backbenchers who’ve announced their retirements did so before the legislature adjourned in mid-May. The timing allowed them to deliver farewell speeches on the floor of the house and it gave the party more time to line up replacements.

The three ministers who announced this week gave personal reasons for not wanting to commit to another four-year term and each expressed confidence in the NDP winning the election.

Forests Minister Ralston had said as recently as the spring session that he intended to seek another term as MLA for Surrey-Whalley. Upon reflection, he had second thoughts.

“I’ve been at it almost 20 years, so I decided that it’s time for the next phase of my life,” Ralston told reporter Tom Zytaruk of the Surrey Now-Leader.

He’s a lawyer and has kept up his certifications to practice. But he readily conceded to the reporter that, “I don’t really expect to return to the practice of law, no.”

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