In a surprise move, a long-serving member of city council has stepped down.
Effective immediately, Jim McCrae has resigned his position as councillor for Meadows Ward. He'll be pursuing a professional opportunity in Winnipeg that he says will leave him unable to fulfill the duties of a Brandon city councillor.
McCrae's career as a Brandon city councillor includes two different wards and dates back to the early
1980s. Between 1986–99, he was also an MLA for Brandon West for the Progressive Conservative party. McCrae was a cabinet minister for many of those years, including stints as the Attorney-General, the Health Minister, the Environment Minister and House Leader.
City manager Scott Hildebrand said that McCrae’s experience, wisdom and calm approach will be greatly missed.
"Jim has always been somebody who I could go to for advice and leadership since I began my role with the City, and he’s never let me down in that regard," Hildebrand said. "His passion for his role as a councillor and his commitment to the residents of Brandon is admirable. I wish Jim all the best with this new opportunity."
In a statement, McCrae said that he would always look fondly upon his time on city council.
"The part I will remember most and best is the spirit of teamwork for the benefit of our city," he said. "I really appreciate the sincere commitment to our city that I have witnessed in each and every colleague around the council table and I am leaving confident that we have built a bright future for Brandon."
McCrae served as deputy mayor for the first year after the 2010 election, which Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said was extemely valuable.
"I can’t thank him enough," Decter Hirst said. "Not only did he have wise advice for me from his previous years on Council, but he had a way of giving that wise advice so that it sunk in.
McCrae’s departure leaves an empty seat on Brandon City Council and a municipal byelection will be held to fill the seat. The city says that preliminary planning is already underway by the City Clerk’s Office to determine a byelection date and work through other details.
In the meantime, University Ward Councillor Jeff Harwood has agreed to look after any issues or concerns
from Meadows Ward residents. Harwood can be reached by telephone at 204-727–2270 or via email