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PCs nominate Klein in Kirkfield Park

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The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba has officially nominated Kevin Klein as its candidate in the upcoming Kirkfield Park byelection.

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The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba has officially nominated Kevin Klein as its candidate in the upcoming Kirkfield Park byelection.

“Over the course of the next number of days, of course, we’ll be calling the byelection,” Premier Heather Stefanson told the crowd at Klein’s nomination event on Monday night.

Former MLA and cabinet minister Scott Fielding held the west Winnipeg seat for the Tories from 2016 until he stepped down in June. Provincial law requires the byelection be held by Dec. 13.

PC candidate for Kirkfield Park, Kevin Klein, jokes with Premier Heather Stefanson at Klein's nomination meeting on Monday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

“I’m excited to… get back in to representing the residents,” Klein said.

He’s no stranger to Kirkfield Park — the electoral division overlaps with Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood, the city ward he represented as councillor for the past four years.

Klein ended his municipal role in August when he announced his run for mayor. He finished third on Oct. 26, drawing 14.78 per cent of the vote.

“I don’t look at this as running for office three times in one year,” said Klein, who initially would have campaigned for his seat as city councillor.

“I’m running to support the people in this community… If I have to do it three times, four times, five times, I’m OK with that.”

Klein had no opposition for the PC nomination; however, in the byelection he will face Logan Oxenham of the NDP, who’s been campaigning since early September; Dennis Bayomi of the Green party; and Rhonda Nichol of the Liberals.

Stefanson was among several Tory MLAs to endorse Klein at the nomination event, which drew more than 60 people.

“He’s already represented part of this community very well as city councillor, and I think it’s just great that he’s going to do this for us provincially,” Stefanson told the audience. The premier was later unavailable for comment.

Environment Minister Jeff Wharton, Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson and MLAs Obby Khan, Blaine Pedersen, Scott Johnston and Ron Schuler were also in attendance.

Klein’s experience in the public eye will help him transition to provincial politics, Johnson said.

“He’s committed to public service,” the Interlake-Gimli MLA said when asked about Klein’s quick shift after the Winnipeg mayoral race.

(Klein said he considered running for the provincial seat before putting his name in for mayor.)

Kevin Klein expresses gratitude as he accepts the PC candidacy for Kirkfield Park at a nomination meeting at Sturgeon Heights Community Centre on Monday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Tim Diack, a Winnipeg police officer who ran in the St. James ward this fall, also endorsed Klein at the event.

“I think that crime is still at a crisis level in our city,” Klein said. “The (PC) party has done a lot of great things, so I want to make sure we keep pushing that agenda.”

In addition to crime, Klein said he would tackle the drag racing and car shows in the area that disturb residents. He wants to learn more about the health-care file and focus on Grace Hospital, he said.

Progressive Conservatives have represented Kirkfield Park since it was formed in 1981, with the exception of Sharon Blady, who held the seat from 2007 to 2016 for the NDP.

Klein said he’s looking at the byelection as a “horse race” where everyone, so far, is tied.

The Manitoba Liberals nominated Nichol, a CancerCare Manitoba research nurse, on Nov. 10.

“If people really want to show their appreciation for health-care workers, they can show it by electing one to the Manitoba legislature,” said Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont in a news release.

gabrielle.piche@freepress.mb.ca

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Reporter

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.

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