David Brazil, the interim leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservative Party, says he won't run to take over the position permanently.
At a news conference Monday morning, Brazil said he grappled with the decision but ultimately decided not to pursue the leadership due to health concerns.
"To get into a rigorous leadership campaign at this point wouldn't be in the best interest for me healthwise, and it wouldn't give me the ability to still represent my district," he said.
In October, Conception Bay South MHA Barry Petten stepped in after Brazil was hospitalized for a heart attack.
Brazil became interim leader in March 2021, after Ches Crosbie stepped down following his provincial election debate. The PC Party announced its leadership contest in June, and at the time Brazil said he would consider running.
Brazil said he hasn't thrown his support behind anyone yet — so far, only Terra Nova MHA Lloyd Parrot has officially launched a leadership campaign. Nominations open in May.
WATCH | Interim PC leader David Brazil talks about his decision to give up the leadership:
Brazil said he'll stay on as interim leader until the new one is elected in October and he'll help with the transition to new leadership.
"Next week will be my 40th anniversary as a civil servant serving the people of this province and it'll be the first time that I put my health and my family's well-being ahead of serving the people of this province," he said.
Brazil said "thousands" of people encouraged him to run for leader.
"It's humbling that that many people endorse you and think you're doing a good job and want you to continue," he said.
Brazil said he hasn't ruled out running in the next provincial election.
"Everybody says there's a shelf life in politics," he said. "You know, I'm one of the long-lasting ones now and the longest in our PC caucus. I'll make that decision — it will be based on my health at that time."
Brazil to meet with Poilievre
Brazil reiterated his intention to forge a stronger relationship between the provincial PC party and the federal Conservatives and said he'll be meeting with federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre in the coming weeks.
"What I'm going to reflect is the policies that we feel are beneficial to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians," he said. "I would hope that the federal Conservative Party develop policies that are indeed a benefactor to the people here. If they're not, well then, we're going to have a disagreement on how that should play out."
Brazil said his conversations with Poilievre have been positive so far.
He said health care, the cost of living and the economy are his main priorities for his remaining time as leader.