Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/8/2017 (804 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Assiniboia Conservative riding association has urged the Tory caucus to take back MLA Steven Fletcher — fearing the loss of the riding in the 2020 provincial election.
"It's hard to imagine winning the riding if you have both a PC candidate and Steven running" as an independent, said a party insider Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The provincial Progressive Conservative party caucus expelled the maverick MLA and former federal cabinet minister early in July. Fletcher said Tuesday he's ready to return to the caucus in return for a simple apology.
The Assiniboia PC riding association board met in late July and urged the party and Fletcher to reconcile, said the source, who has knowledge of what happened at the board meeting.
"The board was upset with his removal. We asked them to resolve whatever issue there is between them and Steven. Everyone is concerned, what happened and why.
"This isn't the right approach," said the Tory, who emphasized there are Fletcher supporters in the west Winnipeg riding who think he's partly to blame.
"We want both parties to work out their differences, and get back together."
The source said the riding association board believes voters put Fletcher in office as a Conservative, and only the voters should be able to remove him.
"I think it's best that I say 'no comment', other than, with a simple public apology for their actions, we can move forward," Fletcher said Tuesday by email.
"Regardless of what happens, I will continue to represent the people of Assiniboia as a compassionate, fiscal Conservative with right-of-centre naturalists' solutions to environmental issues," said Fletcher, now considered to be an independent MLA.
The caucus will not be commenting, caucus senior communications officer Blake Robert said Tuesday, nor will the party headquarters respond to an interview request, said provincial CEO Keith Stewart.
The NDP held Assiniboia until the 2016 election.
When Fletcher was expelled last month, he learned the news from the Free Press two days later.
That day, Tory backbencher Sarah Guillemard was designated by caucus to briefly meet with reporters. Guillemard said Fletcher "continually failed to abide" by caucus principles of confidentiality, support for party policy positions and respect for leadership, colleagues and staff.
She said there were "multiple behaviours, multiple events," which led to Fletcher's removal from caucus, but would not give details.
Meanwhile, former Assiniboia riding association president Don Cooper said Tuesday that he had resigned as president since the board met, partly due to Fletcher's expulsion, but declined to elaborate or discuss the board meeting. The riding association vice-president could not be reached.