Outspoken Tory backbencher shut out of safe seat
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The Progressive Conservative party has snubbed backbencher Shannon Martin, who wanted to run in his former home turf that’s a safe Tory seat.
Instead, Tories in the Midland constituency nominated a newcomer.
The PCs in Midland nominated Lauren Stone on Saturday; she’s a consultant who lives in La Salle with her husband and two young children.
Martin, the MLA for McPhillips, says he’s considering whether to run again in the not-so-safe seat in north Winnipeg that he won by just 105 votes.
“For the time being, I will be spending some time with family and friends as I determine my next steps,” Martin said Monday.
Midland absorbed the former constituency of Morris, which Martin held for years until it was dissolved by Elections Manitoba redistribution. In 2019, Martin ran in McPhillips and narrowly won. After the MLA for Midland, Blaine Pedersen, announced in 2021 he wouldn’t seek re-election, Martin campaigned for the PC nomination there and lost.
Martin congratulated Stone, whose online PC bio says she managed corporate affairs for Cargill Ltd, worked as a policy analyst for the Manitoba Beef Producers, and has consulted for local manufacturing businesses — saying she “will serve our community well as our party and province face a critical election next year.”
He’s not sure if he will run in that critical election, though.
“I will, of course, proudly fulfil my role as MLA for McPhillips until the next general election,” said Martin.
The MLA known more for hard work than a high profile will have a tough decision to make on whether to run in a former NDP stronghold, said University of Manitoba political studies Prof. Christopher Adams.
“If the swing voters move away from the PCs in the next election, I suspect McPhillips will go NDP,” Adams said. “I think he’s quite right to be concerned about whether McPhillips is the place for him to run again.”
Adams said Martin has been a “renegade” in the PC party.
He was the only member of caucus to initially challenge Premier Heather Stefanson for the PC leadership after former premier Brian Pallister resigned in August 2021, and he was one of the few who spoke out against Pallister’s admonition to protesters who had pulled down the statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in July 2021. The Indigenous affairs minister, Eileen Clarke, resigned shortly afterward.
Talking back to authority may have affected Martin’s nomination, Adams speculated.
“It could be that he didn’t win friends,” Adams said.
“It could be there are some who feel he’s not been as strong an adherent to party discipline as others.”
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.
Updated on Monday, October 31, 2022 8:08 PM CDT: fixes typo
Updated on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 9:23 AM CDT: Adds related post.