The longtime member of the legislative assembly for Athabaska is leaving provincial politics to run for the federal Liberals.
Buckley Belanger, who has sat as a New Democrat MLA for 26 years, is resigning his provincial seat. In a news release Tuesday, it was confirmed Belanger is seeking the Liberal nomination for the northern Saskatchewan riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River.
Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River is expected to be a battle in the election that is likely to be called in the coming weeks. The riding has been held by various parties over the last several years, including the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP. The seat is currently held by Gary Vidal of the Conservatives, who is seeking re-election.
Provincial NDP leader Ryan Meili issued this statement on the departure of Belanger from the caucus: “We’re sorry to see Mr. Belanger leave our caucus and are grateful for his service as Saskatchewan’s longest-serving Indigenous MLA. Our focus now will be making sure there is a strong voice for Northwest Saskatchewan in the legislature as the Sask Party has repeatedly shown complete disregard for the concerns of the people of Athabasca.”
On Twitter, Premier Scott Moe wished Belanger well. “I want to thank Buckley Belanger, who just announced his resignation, for his 26 years of service to the people of Athabasca constituencyand the entire province. I will miss Buckley’s fiery speeches, his good nature and his sense of humour in the assembly.”