It's a sad day for constituents of Agassiz and the surrounding area just west of Portage la Prairie, as well as ministers in the government of Manitoba, after hearing the news of former MLA Stu Briese's passing today.
Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart says Briese's time as MLA over the Agassiz constituency included Gladstone, Neepawa and Minnedosa, as well as the town of MacGregor.
"So, we're all very saddened to hear the passing of a wonderful old gentleman. I know I served with Stu in the Legislature, and I had considerable respect for him, and many times went for advice on things. He had so much experience, and much of it, of course, in municipal politics where he was president for the AMM for at least two different occasions. So, he had a lot of background."
He adds Briese was known for helping sort out what was required for municipal politics, the funding involved, and giving them the freedom to manage their own affairs. Wishart says when he was the critic of Family Services, he used to consult Briese, seeing as he had a very good understanding of the program.
He was the critic of infrastructure most of the time with the government in opposition, and held their feet to the fire on that issue. Wishart says Briese likely knew every bridge, railway and road in the province from having been on them. He notes he understood what needed to be done, many times, far better than the then-current minister did.
He adds Briese would contact him over something he felt was done well, and always stayed in touch with provincial politics since his retirement.
Stu Briese was elected as a Progressive Conservative MLA to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in 2007.
Briese's experience includes:
- 20 years on council for Rural Municipality of Langford
- Director of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities
- President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities
- Vice-president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities
- Three years on the board for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
- Re-elected in the 2011 provincial election for the newly-created electoral division of Agassiz
- Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding contribution to municipal government in Manitoba.
MLA Ron Schuler, Minister of Infrastructure, shares his thoughts:
"I do want to extend my condolences on the passing away of my former colleague, MLA Stu Briese, who passed away today (Wednesday, March 13, 2019). our condolences to his family and loved ones. He would be well known in Portage la Prairie and surrounding communities. Again, a loss for Manitoba, and all the hard work he did in the municipal and provincial levels."