Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said in a press conference today he is saddened to make the announcement that Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart is stepping down from his position due to health reasons as Stewart battles cancer.
"He is someone I have tremendous respect for," Moe said. "He has been not only one of my closest colleagues and friends in caucus and cabinet. He’s been a mentor for the past seven years I have had the opportunity to serve in the Government of Saskatchewan.”
"First and foremost, my thoughts are with Lyle as a friend as he embarks on this battle; I know he'll be successful," the premier said. "Second, we'll work our way through the cabinet piece through the next week or so.”
Moe said Stewart will continue to serve as a member of government and “a guiding voice” for the premier going forward.
Stewart said it was a difficult decision to step down from his post.
"This looks like it is going to be a more protracted fight than the last one," he said. "According to the treatment plan they have laid out for me, it's going to be about a year. I don’t expect to be at my best for part of that year.
"I have no doubt between my own personal stubbornness and a great team of health-care professionals that we'll win this battle," he added. "Saskatchewan Agriculture deserves a full-time minister that's really up to the job and the premier has some good choices he can make from within our caucus to do that job."
Stewart said he is proud of his work as minister over the past six years and the team's accomplishments.
"I worked hard at it and I think we've accomplished some good things," he said. "I want to leave on that note."
Stewart said his family has been very supportive as well.
"The premier was fantastic," he said. "It's been awesome working with this premier and the previous premier. I've been very fortunate to do exactly what I’ve wanted to do."
Stewart previously had success after dealing with prostate cancer. This time he is challenged with colorectal cancer.
“This looks like a tougher fight,” he said. “I’ll be fine.”
Stewart is remaining in his position as MLA for Lumsden-Morse. His resignation from cabinet will take effect when a new Minister is appointed, next week.
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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