Newly elected Shannon Martin was busy wrapping things up at his former job as executive director of a non-profit and preparing to start work as the MLA for Morris two days after the constituency’s Jan. 28 byelection.
Progressive Conservative candidate Martin, 43, easily won the byelection with 2,642 votes compared to the first runner-up, NDP candidate Dean Harder, who secured 488 votes.
"I’m thrilled to be here," Martin said.
The La Salle resident said he thinks a combination of factors contributed to his victory. He felt he was able to connect with many residents, and listened to their opinions.
"There is anger out there related to the PST hike," he said, referring to the 1% increase that took effect last July 1. He heard some people complain about the extra cost, while others were annoyed over the NDP government’s failure to hold a public referendum on the increase.
Already named as Opposition critic for Conservation and Water Stewardship, Martin said he knows some constituents are still waiting for compensation for damage caused by the 2011 flood. He plans to work on implementing infrastructure changes needed to prevent future flood damage.
However, he also said he’ll join his fellow Opposition members to keep an eye on provincial spending.
"The underlying theme is one of fiscal responsibility," he said.
Even though his party isn’t in power, he believes he can be effective in helping constituents in dealing with the provincial government, and help them to cut through bureaucracy.
He has just over a month to set up an office in the legislature and constituency.
"Somewhere where the constituents can get hold of me," he said.
He said he wasn’t sure in which community he’ll locate his office.
Morris byelection results
Below are the unofficial byelection results for the constituency of Morris, as reported by Elections Manitoba:
• Registered voters — 13,782
• Turnout — 27.51%
• Total votes cast — 3,792
• Shannon Martin (PC) — 2,642
• Dean Harder (NDP) — 488
• Jeremy Barber (LIB)— 422
• Ray Shaw (IND) — 138
• Alain Landry (GPC)— 85