Manitoba Party almost ready to debut


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A NEW political party is days away from being introduced to Manitobans, modelled after the successful Saskatchewan Party that has made Brad Wall the most popular premier in Canada.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/09/2012 (3844 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A NEW political party is days away from being introduced to Manitobans, modelled after the successful Saskatchewan Party that has made Brad Wall the most popular premier in Canada.

But only if its backers, who come from all political stripes, don’t get cold feet.

Rumblings of the creation of the Manitoba Party have been circulating for months, but took on new life Friday with the circulation of a pamphlet outlining its 10 main principles and word a website,, will go live. Its logo is a green bison head and a blue turbine to signify the potential of the province, including Manitoba Hydro.

The creation of a new “big tent” centrist party, made of up Liberals, Greens and disgruntled Tories, is aimed at unseating the NDP in Winnipeg in the next provincial election. As it stands, those who support a new party do not believe new Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister will have enough support to toss the NDP in critical ridings in south and west Winnipeg.

“I think there’s a lot of frustration out there,” said Peter Holle, president of think-tank the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and backer of the Manitoba Party. “I think there’s a lot of interest in something new.”

How soon the Manitoba Party comes out of the closet is anyone’s guess, however. Its supporters have met regularly for several months, but have not decided how to roll out the party or how to recruit members. The tentative plan is to go public in a month or less.

“Creating another party would be one of many options,” Holle said. “I think that’s too big a jump right now probably for a lot of people.”

Holle also said those who support the party are looking for more imaginative ideas than what they hear from the NDP and the other mainstream parties.

“The mistake out there is to think that this is just… another potential rightwing party,” he said. “I don’t buy that. I think there’s interest in a broader tent out there, let’s just say.”

The Free Press attempted to contact other Manitoba Party organizers, but they did not return messages.

The 10 principles are partly based on the writings of University of Manitoba law professor Bryan Schwartz, who’s written on how he believes Manitoba can be revitalized from being a “supplicant society.” Schwartz declined comment.

Todd Dube, owner of marketing company MediaScene and a vocal opponent to the city’s use of photo radar, said last year he registered the name Manitoba Party with Elections Manitoba to run candidates in the 2015 provincial election.

Dube said Friday he still believes a new party is needed, one reason being the acceptance of photo radar by the established parties at the legislature and by councillors at city hall.

“We don’t have a photo-radar problem,” he said. “We have a political problem.”

But the Manitoba Party could struggle to win public support as there is no conclusive evidence the PCs and the Liberals are dead. Pallister and his Tories start campaigning today in NDPheld ridings — Rossmere is the first — using “Blue Blitzes” and the Liberals finished with a solid second-place finish in the recent Fort Whyte byelection with candidate Bob Axworthy.

The electorate is also at least three years away from a provincial election, so the task of capturing their hearts and minds will not be easy.

The Saskatchewan Party came to power because it was the main opposition to that province’s NDP — the Conservative brand was tainted in the early 1990s when 14 former Tory MLAs were convicted of fraud and breach of trust in an expense-claim scandal.


Updated on Saturday, September 15, 2012 9:57 AM CDT: adds fact box, updates with full write-through

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