Former Man. agriculture minister won’t run again

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger’s first agriculture minister plans to exit the provincial political arena.

Stan Struthers, the MLA since 1995 for what’s now the Dauphin riding, and agriculture minister from 2009 to 2011, announced Wednesday he won’t seek re-election when the next provincial vote is held in April 2016.

Struthers, a high school principal at Rorketon, Man. before entering provincial politics, said in a release Wednesday his decision was made “after talking with my family, as I always do before every election.

“My family and I are hopeful about our future and the opportunities that lie ahead for us,” he said, and “after more than two decades in elected office, it is time to move onto new challenges.”

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Struthers was quoted in local media on Wednesday as saying his decision wasn’t related to his participation in a cabinet rebellion against Selinger.

The minister for municipal government at the time, Struthers and four other New Democrat cabinet ministers left their posts in November. The protest led to a leadership challenge and party vote in March, which Selinger survived as premier.

Struthers was no stranger to the farming file when he became ag minister, having served as deputy ag critic during Tory premier Gary Filmon’s last term, then as Premier Gary Doer’s conservation minister from 2003 to 2009.

As conservation minister Struthers served as the point man for the NDP government’s controversial moratorium against expansion of hog production in the province’s “hog alley,” a region covering the Red River Valley from the U.S. border to Lake Winnipeg.

Struthers’ stint as ag minister also included efforts to organize compensation for major flooding along the Assiniboine River in 2011.

Serving later as Selinger’s finance minister, Struthers again raised farmers’ ire in 2013 when he moved to cap farmers’ rebates on the education taxes paid on farmland at $5,000 per year.

Selinger on Wednesday offered good wishes for Struthers, saying he had “served our party and government well, whether it was as a critic of (Tory) policies, as a cabinet minister or as a tireless advocate for his community.” — Network


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