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Arthur-Virden byelection -- Two seek Tory nod in Maguire's former seat

Doyle Piwniuk

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Doyle Piwniuk

Kevin Tutthill

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Kevin Tutthill

Progressive Conservative Party members will meet in Virden tomorrow night to nominate their candidate in the Arthur-Virden constituency.

Two candidates have put their name forward to become the next PC candidate.

Elkhorn’s Kevin Tutthill and Virden’s Doyle Piwniuk will vie for the nomination.

The provincial seat was left vacant after former PC MLA Larry Maguire, who held the position since 1999, left to run in the federal byelection.

If history is any indication, the nomination meeting will determine who the constituency’s next MLA will be. Since the boundaries were redrawn in 1990, Arthur-Virden has gone blue in six general elections.

A date for the byelection has yet to be set.

Doyle Piwniuk

• Age: 46

• Occupation: Former insurance agency owner and still active in the private sector

Piwniuk was born and raised near Russell. In 1994, after graduating with a diploma in business accounting from Red River College, he moved to Virden to start his career in the insurance and financial planning industry.

Frustration in the private sector, particularily new taxes implemented on insurance recently, prompted Piwniuk to run for provincial politics.

He believes Arthur-Virden has been shortchanged when it comes to infrastructure funding and that the increase in the provincial sales tax is just another cash grab by the provincial government.

"We have a big oil industry in this corner and I’ve driven these roads and they are atrocious," Piwniuk said. "We provide so much revenue to the province through the oil and agricultural industry and I find we’re forgotten."

If elected, Piwniuk said he’d use his experience in the private sector to help balance the books.

"We continue to increase taxes, but it seems we are still running huge deficits," said Piwniuk, who served as president of the Virden-Wallace Economic Development Corporation. "I would like to have balanced budgets."

As the population continues to explode within the constituency, Piwniuk said investments in healthcare, infrastructure and education must be maintained.

Piwniuk is married with two children ages 11 and 13.

Kevin Tutthill

• Age: 44

• Occupation: Principal of Elkhorn School

Tutthill was raised in Elkhorn. After graduating from Brandon University with an arts and education degree, he worked in the constituency as a teacher and a principal before accepting the position of principal at Elkhorn School in 2000.

Tutthill has always been passionate about provincial politics and has been involved with the constituency association since the late 1990s.

He believes the government has erred in its judgment to force municipalities to amalgamate.

"I don’t understand what the government is trying to accomplish except for making smaller municipalities mad," said Tutthill, who is also the deputy mayor of Elkhorn.

The PST increase and an infrastructure deficit in the area are two topics that dominate many of the conversations he has had in coffee shops.

"We keep sending money into Winnipeg, but I don’t think we see enough coming back," he said. "We keep spending money and spending money, and I’m worried for our grandkids."

Tutthill believes his experience in the education system will serve him well in provincial politics. He said the new anti-bullying legislation will put schools in a tough situation moving forward.

"It’s going to make schools more and more accountable for things that happen outside of our privy."

Tutthill has a common-law wife and two children, his youngest is in his final year of high school.

» ctweed@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 12, 2013

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Progressive Conservative Party members will meet in Virden tomorrow night to nominate their candidate in the Arthur-Virden constituency.

Two candidates have put their name forward to become the next PC candidate.

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Progressive Conservative Party members will meet in Virden tomorrow night to nominate their candidate in the Arthur-Virden constituency.

Two candidates have put their name forward to become the next PC candidate.

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