Saying that Saskatchewan deserves a full-time Agriculture Minister, Lyle Stewart is stepping down while undergoing treatment for colorectal cancer.
Stewart will go through an extensive period of chemotherapy.
“We are looking at 12 weeks of chemo now and then a recovery period. Then it will be surgery and another recovery period, followed by six months of chemo.”
Stewart has been Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister for six years and three months. He remained on the job four years ago when he underwent treatment for prostate cancer.
“First and foremost, Lyle Stewart is my friend, so the most important thing for him is to deal with his cancer,” said Premier Scott Moe. “Everything else is secondary. Lyle has been a great Agriculture Minister and I want to thank him for everything he has done for the ag industry in our province.”
Stewart will remain as MLA for Lumsden-Morse. Premier Moe is expected to appoint a new agriculture minister next week.
Stewart has had a good working relationships with provincial agricultural organizations.
The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association sent a tweet praising Stewart for his excellent leadership and commitment to agriculture.
Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, says Stewart has a common sense approach appreciated by farmers.
“I can say he was really honest with us and down-to-earth. He didn’t beat around the bush.”
Orb says Stewart was always willing to hold informal discussions on a variety of agricultural issues.
Jim Wickett, chair of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, appreciated Stewart’s direct connection to his family farm.
“There is nothing that is foreign to him. He knows what it’s like to lose a crop and he knows agriculture inside and out.”
Orb and Wickett would not speculate on Stewart’s replacement, but say that there are a number of qualified rural MLA’s.
(Above picture: Lyle Stewart in a media scrum, March 22nd at Legislature/photo CKRM Radio)