Brian Pallister confirmed today the worst-kept secret in the province when he threw his hat into the ring to be the next leader of Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives.
"This is not about my faith in Manitobans," Pallister said. "This is about Manitobans' faith in themselves."
Pallister has a second campaign launch in Portage la Prairie later today.
"As members of the Progressive Conservative Party, we must embrace our responsibilities with enthusiasm. In doing so we will earn the trust and respect of Manitobans. We will do so with the certain knowledge that we are preparing to form the next government."
Pallister will make his next public appearance in Winnipeg on Tuesday when the governing NDP delivers its new budget.
Pallister also had some PC heavyweights behind him at his campaign announcement, held outdoors at The Forks.
They included Steinbach PC MLA Kelvin Goertzen, who just days ago pulled his name off the list of possible leadership contenders.
City councillor Scott Fielding has said he's still thinking about taking a run at the Tories' top job, left open when current leader Hugh McFadyen said he would resign following the party's poor performance in the Oct. 4 election.
Meanwhile, the PC party welcomed Pallister as the first certified candidate in the party’s leadership election, with the vote to be held Oct. 27 in Winnipeg.
"I know Brian and his team will compete hard and I wish them the best of luck on the campaign trail," leadership election committee chair Ken Lee said.
The candidate certification process includes an application, various background checks, an interview and sale of 1,000 memberships.
Pallister's website is www.brianpallister.ca.
Candidates have until July 28 to submit their names.