WINNIPEG – Premier Gary Doer will be stepping down this fall, ending his reign as Canada’s longest-serving current premier.
At a hastily called news conference this morning, Doer said he won’t run in the next provincial election in Oct. 2011.
He did not give an exact date for his resignation, but a press release indicated it would take place in the fall, after a replacement is chosen.
After 10 years as premier, the time is right for renewal, he said.
"I had planned to step down in and around this 10-year period," he said. "I’m a believer that if you ever have a chance to go out on your own timing, do it. Not everyone has the privilege of doing that. I’ve seen people not leave of their own accord."
Doer said he would not speak of three things: when he’s stepping down, who’s taking his place, and what he’ll be moving on to.
"I won’t be appointed to the Senate," he joked, and he won’t be resting at home "watching the soaps."
The date he will step down will be made in consultation with the party, he said.
Doer was elected premier in 1999 and had led the NDP to three consecutive majorities.
"We’ve tried to govern in a different way. We’ve tried to govern for all the people in this province. We have tried to be builders in this province," he said.
He was first elected to the legislative assembly in 1986 to represent Concordia. He became leader of the NDP in the middle of the 1988 election.
Doer’s resignation opens the door not only his senior cabinet ministers to run for leader, but raises the prospects for Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen. The Tories have been in the political wilderness because of Doer’s popularity.