Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths resigned from his post on the morning of Jan. 26, saying it was time for, “New blood, fresh faces and new energy,” in caucus and in cabinet.
Griffiths served for 13 years through four terms and during his tenure held senior cabinet roles as minister of municipal affairs and minister of Service Alberta.
He also served in junior cabinet positions, such as associate minister of finance, agriculture and solicitor general among others. He said the decision to resign came somewhat gradually after he broke his leg last summer and had time to think while he was waiting for the bone to heal.
“Being laid up for two months makes you sit around and I couldn’t move. You sit around and think about life and I missed my family and started to think about that,” he said.
“So, before Christmas I started thinking more and more as my leg was getting better, and no matter what I want, it’s also time for new energy and new blood. The premier needs new energy, new blood and new ideas in caucus and in cabinet ... I just realized it was time to go.” His term in politics saw its ups and downs and one of the initiatives he found most remarkable was the opportunity to chair and write the Rural Development Strategy, a process that took him to nearly 80 per cent of all the communities in Alberta.
According to the website for Alberta’s agriculture and rural development, “Alberta’s Rural Development Strategy reinforces the province’s commitment to rural Alberta and focuses the provincial government’s collective efforts on ensuring rural Albertans are able to contribute to, and share in, Alberta’s prosperity and quality of life.”
Griffiths was also in charge of handling the 2013 flood in Southern Alberta, a task he considered one of the worst, but most encouraging, issues he had to handle during his run.
“I was minister of municipal affairs and responsible for emergency management and preparedness so when the flood hit I was the person in charge or responsible for it,” he said.
“I certainly didn’t do it alone. There were some amazing, dedicated public servants and other elected officials and volunteers and the public from Alberta and across Canada that stepped up. But it was such devastation and so overwhelming but also one of the most heartening experiences I’ve ever had.”
During his four terms in office he only ran on one fundamental premise, which is the idea that success is accomplished by making sure communities are successful. He felt if communities are prosperous and great places where people want to raise families then the rest takes care of itself.
The thought was if the proper services are in place with reliable infrastructure then families will prosper. This was also the inspiration behind the rural development strategy.
“That’s why I ran, that’s what I said was fundamental every single time.” Now that he’s out of the political game he’s going to keep working on rural and community development.
“I’m going to continue to make sure this province is prosperous and successful when my kids inherit it and everybody else’s kids inherit it,” he said.
“Whether I’m an elected official or not, I’m going to work just as hard at that.”
Until a new MLA is elected to replace Griffiths, his office will stay open with staff in place to help any concerns from his former constituents. They can also go straight to the legislative assembly office or reach out to neighbouring MLAs for advice or assistance.