Former B.C. ag minister won’t run again

A former British Columbia agriculture minister has decided against seeking another term in the legislature.

Pat Bell, the MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie now serving as Premier Christy Clark’s minister of jobs, tourism and skills training, announced Sunday he has a "relatively rare" type of aneurysm requiring him to "turn my mind to my personal health."

Bell said he has informed Clark of his decision, adding she "has asked me to continue in my existing responsibilities through to the election and I have agreed to do that."

B.C.’s next provincial election is scheduled for May 14 this year.

Bell, first elected in 2001 and again in 2005 and 2009, was then-premier Gordon Campbell’s minister of agriculture and lands from 2005 to 2008 and later handled other portfolios including forests and range.

During recent medical tests, Bell said Sunday, his "very astute family doctor saw something that he wanted looked into further and as a result found a relatively rare type of aneurysm that I may have had for some time."

An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning in part of an artery, caused by weakness in the wall of the blood vessel.

Bell is now consulting a cardiac specialist and the aneurysm’s size is being monitored, he said. "If it grows I will require surgical intervention. If not, I may require just an ongoing monitoring program."

Given the diagnosis, "I need to turn my mind to my personal health and this would take my attention away from my responsibilities as your MLA."

Among his cabinet duties, Bell today chairs the cabinet committee on jobs and skills training and sits on the treasury board and priorities and planning cabinet committees.

Bell, before entering provincial politics, worked in the hospitality business, both as a small businessperson and at the corporate level, and also owned a trucking company and co-owned a logging company.

Related stories:
Hagen renamed B.C. ag minister in shuffle, June 23, 2008
B.C. names new ag minister in shuffle, Sept. 7, 2012

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