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Saskatchewan NDP legislature member Buckley Belanger, who is the province's longest-serving Indigenous MLA, says he is seeking the federal Liberal nomination for the riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River.Liam Richards/The Canadian Press

A Saskatchewan NDP legislature member says he is resigning to seek the federal Liberal nomination in the province’s north.

Buckley Belanger, who is Saskatchewan’s longest-serving Indigenous MLA, says he is seeking the nomination for the riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River.

Mr. Belanger, who currently represents the Athabasca constituency, has been an MLA for over 26 years and was a cabinet minister under former premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert.

His resignation is effective as of Monday.

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili says he is sorry to see Mr. Belanger leave the caucus and is grateful for his many years of service.

Mr. Belanger says in a statement that communities in the region need a strong advocate in Ottawa as they face challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.

He also says he’s “making this shift in politics to bring a strong Indigenous voice to the federal level.”

“I believe there is more to be done and I want to be part of that work, for myself and for the place I call home,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is widely expected to call an election soon.

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