Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Manitoba Tory Leadership Campaign Still Not out of the Starting Gate: Manitoba Tories Say There Will Be a Race

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Manitoba Tory Leadership Campaign Still Not out of the Starting Gate: Manitoba Tories Say There Will Be a Race

Article excerpt

WINNIPEG - Manitoba Progressive Conservatives do not appear worried about their leadership race, despite the fact that it hasn't attracted any candidates yet.

"There is still significant time for people to decide to enter and there are a number of people that are mulling that over," Tory CEO Jonathan Scarth said Wednesday.

Over the last few months, several people have admitted they are considering throwing their hats in the ring, including former member of parliament Brian Pallister and Winnipeg city councillors Scott Fielding and Jeff Browaty. Pallister has talked openly about his desire to run, and media reports have suggested he is set to make an announcement in the coming days. But so far, no one has made it official.

Tory deputy leader and justice critic Kelvin Goertzen had been considering a run as well, but announced via Twitter late Tuesday night that he will not join the race. He cited family reasons: he and his wife have a five-year-old son.

"At the end of the day, we came to a conflict," Goertzen said Wednesday.

"If I was going to take on the leadership, I would either have to sacrifice time with the family and not do a very good job on the family side, or I would have to sacrifice time on the leadership side and not do a very good job as leader. Neither one of them seemed to be a very good alternative."

The Tories are looking to replace Hugh McFadyen, who announced his plan to resign after last October's provincial election, which saw the Tories remain on the opposition benches with 19 of the 57 legislature seats. The party increased its share of the popular vote, to 44 per cent from 38 per cent in 2007, but failed to gain any extra seats.

The party announced last fall McFadyen's replacement will be chosen at a leadership convention Oct. 27 of this year. The time frame meant a potential 11-month-long leadership race. But almost immediately, high-profile caucus members ruled out joining the race, including Heather Stefanson, the party's finance critic.

One political observer says the lack of candidates so far raises questions. …

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