Bob Bjornerud, the southeastern Saskatchewan farmer who served almost five years as the province’s agriculture minister, has confirmed his current term in office will be his last.
Bjornerud announced Monday he won’t seek another term as the MLA for the constituency of Melville-Saltcoats in the next provincial election, expected in 2016.
“Even though I don’t look like it, I will be 70 by the time of the next election, so I think it is time for someone else to carry the Saskatchewan Party banner into that election,” he said in a party release.
A former reeve for the RM of Saltcoats, Bjornerud first came to the legislature in 1995 as the Liberal MLA for what was then the Saltcoats riding in 1995, then became one of the founding members of the now-governing Saskatchewan Party in 1997 and has since been re-elected four times.
While in opposition, Bjornerud served as the party whip and as critic for agriculture and municipal affairs. When the party formed government in November 2007, he served as minister of agriculture until May 2012.
“Bob would never call himself this but I will — he’s been a champion for rural Saskatchewan,” Premier Brad Wall said in the party’s release Monday.
“Bob’s leadership has also meant a lot to our party politically. He deserves a lot of credit for the fact that today the Saskatchewan Party represents every rural seat in the province — something which we will never take for granted.”
Bjornerud is one of a handful of senior Saskatchewan Party MLAs opting out of the next election, including founding members Ken Krawetz, the government’s deputy premier and finance minister, and June Draude, minister for social services, as well as former public safety minister Yogi Huyghebaert.
Lyle Stewart, who replaced Bjornerud as ag minister in 2012, has confirmed he’ll run again and was formally nominated again late last month as the party’s candidate for Lumsden-Morse. — AGCanada.com Network