Northern Conservative MP won’t seek re-election

Gary Vidal, Conservative MP for the riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan. (Photo courtesy MP Gary Vidal)

The federal Conservatives will be looking for a new candidate in Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River after current MP Gary Vidal announced he will not seek re-election.

Vidal was first elected in 2019 when he defeated incumbent Georgina Jolibois of the NDP, then re-elected in 2021. However, changes to the riding’s boundaries mean Vidal would not live in his own constituency if elected again.

“Though it is not a legal requirement that a Member of Parliament live in the riding they serve, for me it is a personal requirement and one that I believe in very strongly,” Vidal wrote in a letter released to the media. “The fact is that I will not reside in the new riding of Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River.”

Before entering federal politics, Vidal served as the mayor of Meadow Lake from 2011 to 2019. He still lives in the community, but a redistribution of Federal Electoral Districts in 2022 means the Meadow Lake is no long longer part of Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill.

Instead, the community is included in the Battlefords-Lloydminster riding, which will be renamed Battlefords-Lloydminster-Meadow Lake for the next federal election.

Rosemarie Falk has represented Battlefords-Lloydminster since 2017. In his letter, Vidal wrote the Conservative Party will not hold an open nomination for Battlefords-Lloydminster-Meadow Lake.

“This is not the expected outcome I anticipated,” Vidal wrote. “Circumstances beyond the control of myself and my team have dictated that I move on after the next election.”

During his time in office, Vidal served as the critic for Indigenous Services Canada and Crown Indigenous Relations. He is the current Shadow Minister of Indigenous Services under Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre.