By Jeremy Appel on December 18, 2018.
Medicine Hat MLA Bob Wanner won’t be seeking re-election in 2019.
Wanner, who’s also the Speaker of the Legislature, made the announcement Monday at his annual Holiday gathering, choking up before delivering his decision.
“Folks, it’s been quite a ride — a surreal experience of privilege and honour, of responsibility and duty, of a life that very few people get the opportunity to live,” he said, adding special thanks to his family, including 11 grandkids, and the party’s supporters.
“I can never say enough to the people who worked so hard to achieve that historic event, not only during that election, but for those who had been faithful to the party for so many years.”
Wanner said his goal upon election in 2015 was to ensure the Hat “would no longer be what may have thought was the forgotten corner,” which he says he accomplished, touting more than 50 ministerial visits to the city since his election.
He also used the opportunity to praise the accomplishments of the NDP government, particularly in the realms of education and renewable energy.
“Those naysayers who may occasionally cry that the sky is falling need to start looking at reality,” Wanner said in an admittedly partisan reference to his political opponents.
Wanner wasn’t the NDP candidate for Medicine Hat in 2015 until three weeks before election day, when the original candidate was charged with assault after an altercation while out canvassing.
He said he made a “very quick decision” on the advice of his 15-year-old granddaughter.
“She said, ‘Papa, you must run. Alberta needs to change,” Wanner recalled.
He won with 38 per cent of the vote.
The Cypress-Medicine Hat NDP Constituency Association will nominate a candidate in the new year to run for the party in the upcoming election.