A familiar face has announced plans to seek the Conservative nomination in the federal riding of Portage-Lisgar.

Morden-Winkler MLA and Manitoba Finance Minister, Cameron Friesen, says he intends to resign his seat in the provincial legislature in the near future to run for the federal post, currently held by outgoing Conservative MP Candice Bergen. 

"This morning I called the Premier, I actually would have preferred to do it face-to-face, but the roads and weather conditions prevented that, and I notified her of my intention to step down from Executive Council, and then there's a process that has to happen for me to officially resign as MLA and it will happen in short order," explained Friesen at today's announcement. 

This means, effectively immediately, Friesen is no longer a part of the Manitoba PC Government Cabinet as the province's Finance Minister. 

"Everything is about timing," he added. "For me, at this point in time, with the knowledge and the decision for the MP of Portage-Lisgar to step down, it did get the wheels turning. We are launching into this campaign because we believe it is the right opportunity. I believe I have more to give, and I believe the past eleven-and-a-half years have prepared me for this next challenge."

Friesen's announcement is the latest by members of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative caucus, including four other cabinet ministers, that have said in recent weeks they will not seek re-election in the October 3rd provincial election. He admits his decision will invite certain questions about his timing to exit provincial politics. 

"I want to be clear; I do not feel like I am moving away from something. I feel like I am moving towards something, seizing this opportunity to do a next thing," he said. "Many people know about the compelling nature of change, opportunities come. Sometimes we say, what if I do this? And I think today's decision is about saying, I believe I have more gas left in the tank. I believe the last eleven-and-a-half years have prepared me well for what's next, and now it will be up to the people of Portage-Lisgar to decide for themselves."

Friesen noted, when he first sought the PC nomination for Morden-Winkler over a decade ago, he never had his sights on taking his career further to the federal level. However, he believes having served as former Chief of Staff to MP Bergen prior to becoming MLA offered him the rare opportunity to see Ottawa up close and personal. 

"I embraced the provincial issues because they were near and dear to me. But it's interesting, after having done that for eleven-and-a-half years, I felt myself prepared for other challenges," said Friesen. "I believe that Canada is in need of change at the federal level, and it needs leaders and servants of the people to show up, put their name on the ballot and be part of a move to describe a new vision for Canada and who Canadians are. I couldn't be more delighted by the leadership that Pierre Poilievre is giving the Conservative party, that factored into my decision."

Looking back on his career as Morden-Winkler MLA, Friesen says roots, relationships and results have been pillars to his work, and he feels those principles will be key ingredients for anyone who wants to represent the Portage-Lisgar going forward.

"I am from Southern Manitoba. I live here, we raised our family here and I have relationships throughout the region," said Friesen. "Relationships take time, over the last eleven-and-a-half years to get to know my constituents, to work in my roles as Finance, Health and Justice minister, to meet people in communities and get things done. And finally, results. We've gotten a lot of things done in the last number of years, and I think people want to know their representative in Ottawa has the ability to get things done."

Friesen noted, a team is currently being built and a strategy formed to move forward with his campaign. 

No date has yet been set for the Conservative nomination for Portage-Lisgar.