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Vandal hoping to land federal Grit nomination in St. B

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In this December 2012 file photo, Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) is pictured on Provencher Boulevard.

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In this December 2012 file photo, Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) is pictured on Provencher Boulevard. Photo Store

A local city councillor has his sights set on Parliament.

Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) has announced that he hopes to run for the federal Liberal party in the next general election.

Vandal has represented St. Boniface at the civic level for a total of 16 years, serving as city councillor between 1995 and 2004, and 2006 to the present. He became a member of the federal Liberal party earlier this year, and the former social worker and professional boxer feels the time is right for a new challenge.

"I co-chaired Justin Trudeau’s leadership campaign here in St. Boniface with good results. I believe that the Liberal party has a long and important history in St. Boniface and it’s the right party to represent our community’s diversity. Justin Trudeau is a strong leader who has a vision of what Canada can be and he also has the ability to inspire youth and our next generation of leaders," Vandal said.

"The time is right to be part of a strong team with a strong leader that’s working to do great things for Canada. I really enjoy representing St. Boniface and I hope to be able to continue doing so for many years to come."

At the federal level, the St. Boniface riding is traditionally a Liberal stronghold — although it is currently held by Conservative Shelly Glover —  and Vandal said he would promote a "more interactive and collaborative style of governing.

"Voters need an honest and reliable representative. Nobody is above the law and the electoral system. We must rebuild citizens’ confidence in the political system and encourage them to play a more active role. They shouldn’t feel intimidated by their local representative or by their leaders," he said.

If his nomination is successful, Vandal would run against Glover, who has held the seat since 2008. Glover, a former police officer, is the Conservative regional minister and Manitoba’s most senior MP in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet.

"It will be a good debate on the issues that face our country. I admire Shelly’s tenacity and her hard work, but the fact is she represents Stephen Harper and we need to get rid of Stephen Harper," Vandal said.  

If things don’t go according to plan, Vandal said he would keep an open mind about his future plans.

"As a politician, you want to keep your doors open. I was first elected to council at 35 years old and now I’m 53. I’ve really enjoyed my time as a councillor and I think now is the right time, given what’s going on in our country, to try another level of government. It’s high risk but no risk, no reward. I feel I have something to contribute," he said.

Vandal said the nomination process will likely take place next spring. The next federal election must be held by October 2015.

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