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Too long for vote: Former Morris MLA

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Former Tory MLA Mavis Taillieu outside constituency office

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Former Tory MLA Mavis Taillieu outside constituency office

Former Morris Progressive Conservative MLA Mavis Taillieu says she never dreamt back in February when she resigned her seat that it would still be vacant nearly 10 months later.

It's been 295 days since she announced via a press release that she was leaving after nearly 10 years in elected office.

The wait to replace her ranks as the longest for any byelection in Manitoba history.

"I don't think it's right to wait as long as they have (to call a vote)," Taillieu said this week.

She said she believed when she resigned on Feb. 12 she was giving the Selinger government time to call a byelection before the spring session. In recent years, byelections have been held as quickly as 32 days following the resignation of an MLA.

Taillieu, 61, announced her resignation via a press release, citing personal and family reasons. She declined Free Press interview requests until this week.

She said she's enjoyed her political retirement and has done a fair bit of travelling. She and her husband own a successful construction business in Headingley.

In a brief telephone interview Monday, she said she had made up her mind before the October 2011 election that it would be her last as a contestant.

She said she fully expected the Tories would sweep to power after a dozen years of NDP rule. She was floored when they didn't.

After the defeat, she said, she found she lacked enthusiasm for the job.

"I just didn't feel that I could give it everything I needed to give it. And I didn't really think that that was a fair situation," she said.

"Life is kind of short and sometimes it's time to just sit back and realize that, and enjoy the things you want to do and not work forever."

Taillieu said she could have sat in the legislature "and put in my time." But she decided it was time for someone new in the safe Tory seat - someone who "would get their feet wet in Opposition and perhaps form the next government and be a representative that would be there for some length of time."

It's just taken a lot longer for that new person to get elected than she ever thought.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca 

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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