August 23, 2019

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MLA Fletcher backs Bernier for leadership

ANDREW VAUGHAN / CANADIAN PRESS FILES</p><p>Steven Fletcher, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, is throwing his public support behind Quebec MP Maxime Bernier.</p>

ANDREW VAUGHAN / CANADIAN PRESS FILES

Steven Fletcher, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, is throwing his public support behind Quebec MP Maxime Bernier.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/3/2017 (882 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Manitoba Tory MLA Steven Fletcher will become the first, and possibly only, provincial politician to endorse a federal Conservative leadership candidate when he announces today he is backing Maxime Bernier.

“When you look at all the things you look for in a candidate, Maxime Bernier is the most electable,” said Fletcher, a former federal cabinet minister.

Fletcher served in cabinet with Bernier from 2011 to 2013, and they were in the Tory caucus together for nine years. Fletcher said he got to know the Quebec MP well, and he says the same things in public that he says privately.

“I know most of the candidates, and everyone I know are friends of mine,” he said. “I don’t do this lightly.”

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/3/2017 (882 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Manitoba Tory MLA Steven Fletcher will become the first, and possibly only, provincial politician to endorse a federal Conservative leadership candidate when he announces today he is backing Maxime Bernier.

"When you look at all the things you look for in a candidate, Maxime Bernier is the most electable," said Fletcher, a former federal cabinet minister.

Fletcher served in cabinet with Bernier from 2011 to 2013, and they were in the Tory caucus together for nine years. Fletcher said he got to know the Quebec MP well, and he says the same things in public that he says privately.

"I know most of the candidates, and everyone I know are friends of mine," he said. "I don’t do this lightly."

Manitoba’s Tory MLAs have been quiet about the federal race. Only Fletcher and Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon have donated to any of the candidates. Graydon sent $480 to Kellie Leitch and Fletcher gave $750 to Bernier. Manitoba MLAs have been strongly encouraged by the provincial party to stay on the sidelines.

Fletcher said Bernier’s experience, economic prowess, bilingualism and empathy put him above the rest.

"He is about empowering the individual," Fletcher said.

It’s difficult to gauge support for the candidates among Manitoba conservatives, but Bernier has raised the most money in the province. As of Dec. 31, he had raised $58,944 in Manitoba. Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost was in second with $39,220, followed by Leitch, with $19,778.

Ontario MP Erin O’Toole is backed by three of Manitoba’s five Tory MPs: James Bezan, Larry Maguire and Bob Sopuck. MP Ted Falk and Sen. Don Plett support former Speaker Andrew Scheer. MP Candice Bergen can’t endorse a candidate because she is the House leader and must stay neutral.

The Conservatives will choose their next leader in Toronto at the end of May.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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