Wayne Gaudet, Nova Scotia's agriculture minister during John Savage's Liberal administration, plans not to seek re-election to the legislature.
Gaudet, the MLA for the southwestern riding of Clare since 1993, served as minister of agriculture from 1993 to 1996 and in several other portfolios including human resources, housing and municipal affairs, education and culture, business and consumer affairs, and Acadian affairs.
Gaudet, a high school teacher and administrator before entering politics, also served stints as speaker and deputy speaker, and twice as the provincial Liberals' interim leader, after the departures of Russell MacLellan and Danny Graham.
In a release Jan. 18, Gaudet noted the Clare riding "will no longer exist" in the next election, as electoral boundaries have been redrawn.
"The Dexter government has decided to eliminate the riding of Clare and that's the reason I will not be reoffering."
In a separate statement Tuesday, however, Premier Darrell Dexter hailed Gaudet as "someone who could be counted on to co-operate and build consensus when we were both leaders of our respective parties."
Provincial Tory leader Jamie Baillie said the legislature "will be losing an advocate for Acadians and for Acadian rights" with the retirement of Gaudet, who was "admired as being a great constituency MLA that fought for his community."
Liberal leader Stephen McNeil added he has "learned a lot from (Gaudet) and his experiences in our party. We all have."