Yesterday in Winnipeg, the Progressive Conservative (PC) Caucus elected former Minister of Education Wayne Ewasko as Interim Leader, following former Premier Heather Stefanson’s announcement that she was stepping down from the role earlier this week, though she remains the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Tuxedo.
When the Manitoba Legislature returns on March 6, Ewasko, a former teacher and guidance counselor prior to being elected for the first time in 2011, will face off as Leader of the Opposition against Premier Wab Kinew.
Representing the riding of Lac du Bonnet, north east of Winnipeg, Ewasko said he wants to help rebuild public trust after the general election in October that reduced the PCs to only 22 of the 57 provincial seats in the legislature, and ensure, “the groundwork is done so that when the new leader comes in, they’re not having to start right from scratch.” [source: CBC.ca, January 18]
When former Premier Brian Pallister shuffled his cabinet in 2021, Ewasko was named Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration, and was reappointed by Stefanson with a change to the portfolio name in January 2022.
The date of the PC Leadership Convention will be announced in the coming days or weeks and is expected for October or early November, roughly one year after the last election.
Rumoured to be considering a run for the title are former PC cabinet ministers Obby Khan, MLA for Fort Whyte, and Kevin Klein, MLA for Kirkfield Park, as well as Candice Bergen Harris, former Member of Parliament (MP) for Portage-Lisgar and former federal interim Leader of the Opposition prior to Pierre Poilievre’s leadership election victory in 2022. Bergen Harris has been outspoken regarding the failures of the provincial Tories’ election campaign, for which she was a co-chair.
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