close
close
Tories blame Tuxedo defeat on snap byelection call – Winnipeg Free Press

Tories blame Tuxedo defeat on snap byelection call – Winnipeg Free Press

Tories blame Tuxedo defeat on snap byelection call – Winnipeg Free Press

Nine days after losing the Tory stronghold of Tuxedo in a byelection, the Progressive Conservatives kicked off their April 26 leadership race Thursday outside party headquarters.

It was a chance for reporters to ask the PCs about their historic June 18 defeat in Tuxedo in which New Democrat Carla Compton handily won the Tory stronghold as she defeated Lawrence Pinsky by 602 votes.

Interim PC Leader Wayne Ewasko — who confirmed he will not seek the leadership — attributed the loss to “a few things,” while admonishing reporters for dredging up last week’s defeat.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS

“I think the biggest thing the Tuxedo byelection showed us is why the premier wanted to hold that byelection so quickly,” interim PC leader Wayne Ewasko said.

“It seems that some media outlets want to stay back in time a little bit and we’re here today to try and move forward,” said Ewasko, who replaced former premier Heather Stefanson as leader in January after she announced her resignation on Oct. 3 when the PCs lost the Oct. 3 election.

Stefanson resigned her Tuxedo seat effective May 6. On May 20, Premier Wab Kinew called a byelection for June 18.

“First of all, it was a snap election called by the prime minister,” Ewasko explained.

“That being said, the Progressive Conservatives were the only party to hold a candidate selection contest. We saw almost 600 new members come out and vote for Mr. Pinsky as the candidate,” he said.

Candidates for the other three parties — including the Liberals and Greens who finished well behind the PCs — were unchallenged for the nomination.

“I think the biggest thing the Tuxedo byelection showed us is why the premier wanted to hold that byelection so quickly,” Ewasko said.

“It was to avoid being held accountable for a lot of the failings he had done over the previous eight or nine months,” such as cutting education, raising taxes and seeing an increase in crime, he said.

“I think the premier didn’t want to see those things come out in the byelection and that’s why he called a quick election,” said Ewasko.

Pinsky’s campaign was beset by news of a civil suit filed by an Interlake business alleging he had failed to pay a $6,000 bill to install a fireplace and chimney at his family cottage. That was followed by a robocall to constituents that said, “If Pinsky doesn’t pay his cottage renovation bills, how will he respect our tax dollars… if these are his actions as a private individual, how can we expect him to act as our representative?”

“It’s the goal of everyone involved with the PC Party of Manitoba to once again regain the trust of Manitobans and be given the privilege to form the government of our province,”–Brad Zander

Tuxedo residents, meanwhile, received robocalls from Pinsky alleging there was “undeniable evidence” some NDP MLAs and ministers support “extremism.”

“I’m not saying that we didn’t lose it,” Ewasko said of the Tuxedo byelection. “We definitely lost it, but I think we’re going to learn from those events and definitely going to move forward. That’s why we’re here today, to kick off this wonderful leadership race so we can take back government in 2027.”

Brad Zander, who chairs the seven-member leadership election committee, told reporters they are dedicated to ensuring the “highest standards of fairness and transparency.”

The 2021 PC leadership race was criticized after some members did not receive ballots in time to vote. The party — which has since done away with “one-member, one-vote” in favor of a weighted ballot system — was flooded with new members who didn’t necessarily share PC values ​​but could choose the leader.

Far-right candidate Ken Lee, who claimed he had sold the most memberships, was disqualified from running. Former Conservative MP Shelly Glover, who was Stefanson’s only opponent, challenged the results in court and lost.

Zander promised a better leadership selection process this time.

“It’s the goal of everyone involved with the PC Party of Manitoba to once again regain the trust of Manitobans and be given the privilege to form the government of our province,” said Zander, who was joined by committee member Lauren Stone, the MLA for Midland.

“The way in which this race is conducted, overseen and run, I believe, is an early opportunity to demonstrate this party is worthy of that trust,” said Zander, a corporate lawyer who chairs CentreVenture, Winnipeg’s development corporation.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS Brad Zander, who chairs the seven-member leadership election committee, told reporters they are dedicated to ensuring the

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS

Brad Zander, who chairs the seven-member leadership election committee, told reporters they are dedicated to ensuring the “highest standards of fairness and transparency.”