by Morinville News Staff
Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA and former Wildrose Leader Brian Jean has stepped down to focus on family, friends and rebuilding the home he lost in 2016.
“Three years ago, I entered provincial politics because I believed Albertans deserved better from their government — whether it was an unresponsive health care system, irresponsible spending, or suffering from a decline in democracy,” Jean said. “We needed to set a bold new direction for conservative politics in this province and I’m proud that during my time as leader of Wildrose and as a member of the United Conservative Party, these policies are closer to coming to reality than ever before.”
Jean went on to say he believed he was humbled to lead Alberta’s official Opposition for more than two years, during which he was privileged to meet with Albertans from every corner of the province, listen to them and advocate for them in the legislature.
“I made friendships that will last a lifetime,” he said.
Jean said he did not make the decision to retire lightly.
“Being elected to represent the people of Fort McMurray in different capacities since 2004 has been one of the greatest honours in my life,” he said. “Alberta and Albertans are always close to my heart and mind, but I believe now is an important time in my life to draw closer to my family, my kids and my grandchildren. My beautiful wife Kim was my greatest support during my time as MLA, leader and leadership candidate, and it’s time for us to take the next steps on our adventure together – including finally getting our home rebuilt in Fort McMurray. I love this province. Thank you, everyone. God bless Alberta.”
United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney thanked Jean on behalf of the party.
“I’d like to thank Brian for his huge contributions to the conservative movement over the past fourteen years, especially as Leader of the Opposition and MLA,” Kenney said. “Today, the conservative movement in Alberta is resurgent, thanks in large part to Brian’s courageous and principled decision to put our province ahead of any political party by pursuing the path of unity. All Alberta Conservatives are deeply grateful to Brian for his leadership, just as all Albertans should be grateful for his public service.”
Kenney went on to say Jean stepped up to leadership at a difficult time for his family, and distinguished himself as a strong Leader of the Opposition at a key time in the province’s history.
“His compassionate response and leadership in the face of the Fort McMurray fire of 2016 demonstrated his strength of character,” Kenney said.
Jean won the Wildrose leadership in March of 2015 and brought the Caucus from three members to 22. Prior to entering provincial politics, he served for ten years as the Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray – Athabasca, and Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for six of those years. Jean was a full-time member of the Standing Committees on Finance and Justice.