Ron Stevens is leaving his post as Alberta's deputy premier, a move that has been rumoured for months.
The Calgary lawyer is expected to be appointed a judge next week, but
so far no one is willing to confirm the appointment, including Stevens.
His resignation was announced in a four-paragraph news release
Friday afternoon from Premier Ed Stelmach. A spokesman said Stelmach
would offer no further comment until after the long weekend.
The release says Stevens resigned "to pursue other career options."
Stevens and his spokesman did not return phone calls Friday, and
several people close to the departing cabinet minister were also
Stevens has held several cabinet portfolios since he was first
elected in 1997, including justice and gaming. Most recently he served
as minister of international and intergovernmental relations.
His resignation is effective immediately and he is also stepping down as the elected member for Calgary-Glenmore.
The departure leaves the Progressive Conservatives with 71 of
Alberta's 83 seats. The Liberals have nine members and the New
Democrats hold two seats. Stelmach has six months to call a byelection.
Stevens has been rumoured for months to be headed for the
judiciary. He was recently in Ottawa where such appointments are often
Paul Stanway, the premier's communications director, said an
announcement will be made next week. But Stanway would not confirm that
the former cabinet minister will be appointed as a judge.
"There's nothing sinister going on with this resignation," said Stanway. "It will all become clear next week."
In Friday's release, Stelmach offered words of praise for his departing cabinet veteran.
"Ron has been a good friend and stalwart colleague, and I have
greatly valued his sound advice and solid judgment," said the premier.
"As an MLA and minister he has worked tirelessly on behalf of his province, his city and his constituents."