NDP's Scott Fraser won't seek re-election

Indigenous affairs minister announces retirement from BC politics

Scott Fraser signed a memorandum of understanding with the Wet'swuwet'en First Nation on rights and title earlier this year. | BC Government

Scott Fraser, the B.C. government's minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, says he will not seek re-election, which may add to the speculation that Premier John Horgan will soon call a snap election.

The next scheduled provincial election is for October 2021. But speculation is rampant that Horgan may take advantage of his poll popularity to call an early election.

The fact Fraser has chosen to announce his retirement from politics now suggests he and the NDP are clearing the decks and giving notice to potential replacement candidates who wish to seek the nomination for his electoral district of Mid-Island-Pacific Rim. Fraser has served as an NDP MLA for 15 years.

“Over the past year I have had many discussions with those close to me about my decision not to seek re-election," Fraser said in a press release. "It was a tough call to make because I love my job, but I realize it is time for me to spend more time with my loved ones and allow space for the leaders of tomorrow to step forward."

Fraser has taken some criticism for his handling of negotiations with the Wet'suwet'en First Nation. The First Nation is divided on the Coastal GasLink project, with elected band councils supporting it and hereditary chiefs opposing it.

Earlier this year, Fraser and his federal counterpart announced they had struck an agreement to recognize Wet'suwet'en rights and title. Fraser has been accused of favouring hereditary chiefs in negotiations and excluding elected chiefs in the discussions.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv