The former leader of Alberta's Wildrose Party, Brian Jean, who lost to Jason Kenney in the race to lead the United Conservative Party in the province, says he wants to be closer to his family and is leaving politics. (cbc.ca)

Brian Jean is stepping away from politics

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Brian Jean, once viewed as a rising star in Alberta politics, is resigning from the provincial legislature.

Jean’s political future has been murky since he lost to Jason Kenney in October in the race to lead the United Conservative Party following the amalgamation of his Wildrose Party and the provincial Progressive Conservatives.

“Alberta and Albertans are always close to my heart and mind, but I believe now is an important time in my life to draw closer to my family, my kids and my grandchildren.”

Three members of his family, including his sister, have cancer, Jean told the newspaper Fort McMurray Today.

Brian Jean’s loss to Jason Kenney in last October’s race to lead Alberta’s United Conservative Party likely hastened Jean’s exit from politics. (Chris Bolin/Wildrose Party)

Three years ago, his 24-year-old son, Michael, died of lymphoma

Jean says he also wants to rebuild his home, which was destroyed in the massive wildfire that hit Fort McMurray in 2016.

Jean’s political fortunes appeared to be on the upswing in 2015 when he won the leadership of the Wildrose Party after 10 party members crossed to floor to join the Progressive Conservatives.

That left Wildrose with just five seats in the provincial legislature, but Jean led the party to 21 seats in the 2015 provincial election that saw Rachel Notley’s New Democratic Party sweep to power after more than 40 years of Progressive Conservative governments.

His fortunes ebbed last fall when he lost the United Conservative Party leadership race to Kenney, who received twice as many votes.

Before entering provincial politics, Jean was a lawyer and businessman who later became a Conservative MP.

With files from CBC, Canadian Press, CTV, The Globe and Mail

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