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NDP in Brandon-Souris yet to select candidate

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/8/2015 (1627 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

BRANDON - More than three days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked Gov. Gen. David Johnston to dissolve Parliament for an October general election, the Brandon-Souris riding is still devoid of an NDP candidate.

Garnet Boyd, president of the federal NDP riding association, said he hopes the party can host a nomination meeting in the near future, but said there is no set date for such an event.

Part of the holdup, according to Boyd, is that the local association is waiting for the federal party to green-light a second candidate in the riding.

Melissa Wastasecoot has publicly said she is seeking the nomination.

Wastasecoot is the constituency assistant for Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell.

Boyd refused to say who the second candidate is.

If a second candidate is approved by NDP brass, Boyd said that person wouldn’t be able to sell memberships ahead of a nomination meeting.

"Whoever was on the list the day the writ was dropped will be eligible to vote at the meeting,’ Boyd said.

Support for the federal NDP collapsed during the 2013 byelection in Brandon-Souris. Many former supporters saw the election as a chance to utilize the ABC —Anything But Conservative — strategy.

In 2013, NDP candidate Cory Szczepanski garnered less than 2,000 votes, or 7.2 per cent of the total vote. It was a major decline from the party’s 2011 total, when Jean Luc Bouché captured 8,845 votes, or 25.2 per cent of the total.

Boyd said he doesn’t believe not having a candidate named at the start of the campaign period is a disadvantage for the party.

"Right now, the three leaders of the parties are putting their platforms out there and selling it," Boyd said. "For me, it’s still going to come down to those last 35 days when people go out and knock on doors and all the information is out there."

He criticized Harper for calling an election so early.

Many believe the Conservative party has an advantage because it has the largest war chest heading into the extended campaign.

"This is still the summer holiday period and that is where people should be focusing their attention so that we’re not pulling people off their holidays," Boyd said.

Looking at return information for 2014 reveals the Brandon-Souris Conservative Association had raised $25,810 from 102 donors.

The association received another $21,680 in party transfers and sat with approximately $47,500 in the bank, according to Elections Canada.

The numbers don’t account for any contributions or transfers that happened following 2014.

Meanwhile, the NDP had a paltry $1,324 in contributions from five donors. An additional $2,250 in transfers brings the bank total to about $3,600.

The Green party had $100 from 10 contributors and another $912 in transfers to sit with a little more than $1,000 in political capital.

The Liberal association didn’t file a 2014 return.

Green candidate David Neufeld has set up an office set up at 833 Rosser Ave. in Brandon.

"We’re totally ready to go," Neufeld said, adding he plans to host a launch party in early to mid-September.

"We feel no need to jump to Mr. Harper’s beat," he said, "preferring to meet with citizens and organizations as we have been."

Liberal Jodi Wyman has an office at 439 10th St.

She plans to host a grand opening Aug. 17.

Conservative Larry Maguire kicked off his campaign at his headquarters on Monday. Maguire’s office is located 2940 Victoria Ave.

Frank Godon, who was running under the Libertarian Party banner, announced he is pulling out of the race on Monday.

"I have withdrawn my name from running in Brandon-Souris," Godon said on Twitter. "I am moving out of the region at the end of (August)."

Election day isn’t until Oct. 19.



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