Source: Facebook

A Saskatchewan Conservative MP says he won’t be running again after his hopes of running in a different riding were rebuffed by the party.

Gary Vidal, the member of Parliament for the northern Saskatchewan riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, announced his departure from politics in a statement published Tuesday.

As federal electoral district boundaries were redrawn ahead of the next election, Vidal’s riding will be changing, with a southern portion merging with Battlefords—Lloydminster to become Battlefords—Lloydminster—Meadow Lake.

Battlefords—Lloydminster is currently represented by Conservative MP Rosemarie Falk, who is expected to seek reelection under the new boundaries.

Vidal said in his statement that he believes that MPs ought to live in the riding they represent. Given that his residence is no longer in Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River following the redistribution, he wanted to instead run in the rejigged Battlefords riding. According to Vidal, the Conservative Party of Canada wouldn’t allow it.

“The Conservative Party of Canada has decided that there will not be an open nomination to determine who will be on the ballot for the party in the new riding that I will reside in called Battlefords—Lloydminster—Meadow Lake” said Vidal.

“Although this is not the expected outcome I anticipated, circumstances beyond the control of

myself and my team have dictated that I move on after the next election.”

In a statement to True North, Conservative party spokesperson Sarah Fischer said Vidal had the opportunity to seek re-election in his current riding, notwithstanding the boundary change.

“The Conservative party respects Mr. Vidal’s decision not to seek reelection. Mr. Vidal was given the option to run in the new riding that held the majority of his current constituents,” said Fischer.

“We’re glad Mr. Vidal will continue to serve his constituents as a member of the Conservative party caucus until the next election, and we look forward to his involvement in the movement in the future.”

Every ten years, Elections Canada redraws the boundaries for federal electoral districts based on the census to accommodate the country’s changing population and demographics. 

Vidal, first elected in 2019, is the former mayor of Meadow Lake, a small Saskatchewan city that the redistribution carves out of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, his current seat.

Vidal sat in the Conservative shadow cabinet until February, when he abruptly resigned from his critic role without explanation.

Vidal expressed gratitude for having served as an MP, and thanked his constituents.

“Serving as a member of Parliament for an incredible riding has been an honor and a privilege,” he said. “I have made friends and built authentic relationships with many people that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am very proud of the work my team and I have done.”