News / Winnipeg

Pallister first candidate in PC leadership race

Brian Pallister has officially thrown his hat into the leadership race for the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba.

Former Canadian Alliance MP Pallister officially announced on Wednesday he will run for the leadership position. In a bi-lingual speech at The Forks, he told supporters and caucus members “we will aim higher.”

“We will work as a team,” Pallister told a small crowd of supporters including some caucus veterans. “We will conduct ourselves as if our children and grandchildren were watching us. We will field the best candidates. We will build the best organizations.”

Pallister is going into the leadership race without holding a seat in the provincial government.

“I, as leader, would be able to do a great amount of work from outside of the house if I wasn’t given the opportunity in the short term to get in to it,” said Pallister.

Pallister would not speculate if he’s eyeing former PC Leader Hugh McFadden’s riding but said he thinks there are “some opportunities there.”

McFadden stepped down in his concession speech at the 2011 Manitoba Election after the PCs were unable to gain ground against the NDP stronghold.

So far, Pallister is the only candidate for leadership. His announcement comes after a series of potential candidates - including MP Rod Bruinooge and justice critic Kelvin Goertzen - decided not to throw their hats in the ring.

The new leader will be chosen at a leadership convention on Oct. 27.

Pallister was elected provincially in 1992 and served as cabinet minister for Premier Gary Filmon. He left in 1997 for federal politics under the Canadian Alliance banner in 2000 and ran for the federal leadership of the party. He resigned in 2008 to focus on his private financial services business in Portage La Prairie.

-With files from the Canadian Press.

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