A former United States marine has declared his intention to seek the Liberal nomination in the Brandon-Souris federal byelection.
Frank Godon of Boissevain calls himself “financially conservative, socially liberal and more to the centre of the political spectrum.”
“I believe now with the Liberal party wanting to rebrand itself and wanting to kind of renew itself, I see some hope there, that we can bring it back to the centre,” he said.
Godon, 52, is of Métis heritage and was born and raised in the Turtle Mountain area. He recently spent several years off and on in Russia, where he was teaching English and Canadian aboriginal culture at Saint Petersburg State University.
He married a Russian woman and the couple will be establishing themselves, along with their two young children, in Boissevain.
Godon said he wants to be close to his ailing parents. His mother is battling cancer, while his father — a Second World War veteran — also has health issues.
“Not all elderly people are fortunate, like my parents, to have someone who can come and take care of them,” he said, adding: “One of my issues that I’m going to be working on is care for the elderly in our region.”
Other issues Godon wants to tackle include health care and infrastructure.
“I feel that when you have towns like Deloraine, Boissevain and Killarney sharing emergency services, something has to be looked into there,” he said.
“The infrastructure in our area ... I don’t think current politicians are doing enough, both provincial and federal.”
In 2010, Godon challenged David Chartrand in the Manitoba Métis Federation’s presidential election. Chartrand defeated Godon. At the time, Godon said he was running for MMF president to bring transparency to the organization.
Godon also ran a restaurant in Killarney with his first wife.
He plans to connect with people across the riding over the next few weeks in an effort to raise supporters.
“I have a wide list of people that I can speak with in Brandon, from both being in business in Killarney and living in Boissevain and being involved in the Métis federation,” he said. “So there’s a lot of contacts I have in the area, I’m going to work with them and see if they can help me out, etc.”
Last week, Rolf Dinsdale, whose father represented Brandon-Souris as MP for more than 30 years, announced his intention to seek the Liberal nomination.
On the Conservative side, three candidates have come forward: Merv Tweed’s former executive assistant Chris Kennedy, Coun. Len Isleifson (Riverview) and Arthur-Virden MLA Larry Maguire.
Brandon Labour Council president Cory Szczepanski and locomotive engineer John Bouché are both vying for the NDP nomination.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 6, 2013