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Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy retiring at end of term

MLA Katrine Conroy will not run in upcoming provincial election
MLA Katrine Conroy announced she will not be running in the next election at a press conference in Castlegar on May 10. Photo: Betsy Kline

New Democrat MLA for Kootenay West and Finance Minister Katrine Conroy announced that she will not be running in the upcoming provincial election.

Conroy was first elected to the B.C. Legislature 19 years ago. She has served in cabinet since 2017, first as Minister of Children and Family Development, then Minister of Forests, and has been the Minister of Finance since 2022.

In an emotional speech in Castlegar on Friday afternoon, 66-year-old Conroy said it was one of the most difficult decisions she has had to make in a really long time.

“It has been my honour to serve not only the people in the region, but in the entire province,” said Conroy.

Conroy said the motives behind her decision included a desire to enjoy her retirement years and wanting to spend more time with her family.

“You have been there for me through so much and supported me,” said Conroy of her family.

Conroy said when discussing the decision with her son, he pointed out that there had been a Conroy on the ballot in the West Kootenay since 1986.

That political legacy began when Conroy’s husband Ed ran for school board trustee 38 years ago. He went on to serve as the MLA for Rossland-Trail from 1991-2001.

Conroy herself was then elected as an MLA in the West Kootenay just a few years later, in 2005.

“That is 38 years of our family supporting both of us in public service to our communities,” said Conroy.

She also went on to thank her local and provincial staff and the leaders that saw her potential.

“I want to thank Premiers Horgan and Eby who had the courage to appoint this rural woman to cabinet,” said Conroy. “With their support we have accomplished so many things as government …”

Conroy couldn’t peg down one thing she saw as the greatest accomplishment during her time in office, but said the highlights include allowing kids in care to attend college for free, the NDP’s childcare initiative and the creation of the Office of the Senior’s Advocate.

As for unfinished work, Conroy hopes to see an agreement in principal on the the new Columbia River Treaty before she leaves office. She has served as the Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty for a number of years.

Conroy says will continue in her current roles until the fall election.

Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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