FORMER Winnipeg MP Shelly Glover said she plans to enter the race to replace Premier Brian Pallister and she wants the party to delay the race so more candidates can run.

FORMER Winnipeg MP Shelly Glover said she plans to enter the race to replace Premier Brian Pallister and she wants the party to delay the race so more candidates can run.

"I have decided to apply to run and I’m encouraging other people to do the same," said Glover. "I’m going to give members a voice and a choice."

Glover is only the second person to jump into the Tory leadership contest after Heather Stefanson, the MLA for Tuxedo, announced her candidacy last week with the support of the vast majority of the Tory caucus. At least two possible candidates — Families Minister Rochelle Squires and Finance Minister Scott Fielding, both of whom had expressed interest in running — bowed out on Tuesday.

Glover said the party’s abbreviated timeline for the leadership race (the deadline to enter is Sept. 15) is preventing others, especially those from outside the Tory caucus, from participating. Party members, including farmers struggling with this year’s drought, as well as those busy with a federal election, will also be shut out, she said.

"I think the rules are designed to keep everyone else out of the race and that bothers me a lot," said Glover. "It makes me mad and that, frankly, is motivating me to run."

The former Winnipeg police officer said leadership contests are supposed to be a time for parties to attract new members and create excitement and renewal as they prepare for the next election. Limiting the number of people who can participate will only hurt the party, she said. Glover said she can’t understand what is motivating party insiders to take this route and believes it will give the opposition more ammunition to attack the party.

"This is not the PC party I joined," said Glover, who served as the Conservative MP for Saint Boniface from 2008 to 2015 under prime minister Stephen Harper.

"I can’t see myself sitting on the sidelines and seeing this injustice being unchecked."

Political observers say Stefanson’s overwhelming caucus support gives her an advantage, since MLAs can draw on their constituency associations to sell memberships.

Glover said MLAs who back Stefanson, who served as health minister and deputy premier in the Pallister government, have had weeks, if not months, to sell memberships, which she said creates an uneven playing field for anyone else considering joining the race.

The PC party’s executive council announced details of the leadership race on Monday. It includes a candidate entry fee of $25,000 and a requirement to sign up at least 1,000 members. That can include renewing memberships, which are easy targets for MLAs and constituency associations that have membership lists. Glover said she’s confident she can sign up 1,000 members.

She said she plans to encourage more people to run to avoid an acclamation.

"We need more people in the race, it’s the right thing for the party," she said. "Win, lose or draw I think it’s important for the party to have a race."

Glover, who is Métis and fluently bilingual, said she hasn’t set a date for when she will officially declare her candidacy. She said she is still working with her campaign team to finalize the necessary paperwork.

The cut-off to sell memberships is Sept. 30. Party members will vote by mail-in ballot. The votes will be counted Oct. 30.

tom.brodbeck@freepress.mb.ca

Tom Brodbeck

Tom Brodbeck
Columnist

Tom has been covering Manitoba politics since the early 1990s and joined the Winnipeg Free Press news team in 2019.

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