Although Premier Brian Pallister may be a little coy about when he will drop the writ, he is certainly not shy about getting ready for the next Manitoba election.
Pallister was in Boissevain on January 16 at the Bordertown Restaurant to kick off the start of the new Turtle Mountain Constituency Progressive Conservative Riding Association. As the Electoral Boundaries Commission created new constituency boundaries for the 2020 election, the old Turtle Mountain constituency was reborn, with Boissevain back in with Killarney. There was a large crowd of local Tories on hand, who also chose Arthur-Virden MLA Doyle Piwniuk as their candidate.
Although the election is formally slated for October 2020, the party is starting to get candidates in place for the running now. Pallister said it is good to get going.
“It is never too early in the case where the boundaries are changing and there are new communities to represent,” Pallister explained, “Doyle has done a tremendous job for the people since he came in during a by-election several years ago, but he needs to get to know the people and the people need to get to know him. And of course, with the boundaries changing he’s going to be representing some new communities, so this gives him a chance to get out there, to be known, and to know the issues around the riding. He knows many of them, obviously, but each area is different, and each area has its priorities, so this is a good opportunity to get our candidate ready.”
The process did not come without some controversy. There were complaints from the mayor of Killarney-Turtle Mountain, Rick Pauls, who wanted to run for the candidate slot, that he was not given a chance due to timing and membership concerns, and the desire to have Piwniuk in the role. The premier rejected these concerns.
“I would say the mayor is wrong and he’s been wrong in the past on issues like this and he’s wrong again. I would say organized political parties get their people in place early and that’s what we’re doing. As far as the process itself, the process is well understood and the party has established a process that’s fair, the rules the members of the party agreed to in our constitution are being followed. That’s what you want a party to do, to follow the rules, and we’re doing that.”