After a devastating loss in last year’s Brandon-Souris byelection, Liberal Rolf Dinsdale made his first public appearances in Brandon this weekend.
With the pandemonium of the hotly contested byelection now in his rearview mirror, Dinsdale has returned to the scene of his party’s monumental surge to lose the seat by just 391 votes.
"Everyone was having — understandably — difficulty digesting that loss," he said after he addressed a crowd of around 50 volunteers at the Riverbank Discovery Centre on Saturday for an appreciation event.
The former Liberal candidate was also at a fundraiser for the Marquis project on Friday evening.
The Liberal party is clearly still salivating over the Brandon-Souris riding and could have a candidate for the 2015 general election in place as early as April, according to the riding president.
Dinsdale said now he has every intention to place his name on the nomination ballot for the general election, for which the writ is slated to drop in 21 months.
Following the Nov. 25 vote, Dinsdale travelled to Ottawa (since he had already booked a ticket), and stayed east before heading to the U.S. for the holidays and returned to Brandon just this month, insisting Brandon is still his home base.
"I don’t have a home anywhere except in Brandon," he said.
"What’s keeping me in Brandon? Politics. And other parts of my family ... my mother is settled here in a retirement home and right now I’m the only one of her children in Brandon."
But if Dinsdale is going to once again fly the Liberal flag in the Wheat City in hopes lightning will strike twice in the traditionally Tory blue riding, there are some challenges, both personal and political, he has to address.
His nine-year-old daughter currently lives with his ex-wife in Etobicoke, a suburb in the Greater Toronto Area, and he said he has every intention to be part of his child’s life while deepening his political roots here in Brandon 2,300 kilometres away.
"So working out the logistics of how we spend time together is very important to me and as a father — as someone who is very committed to family — my daughter is my first priority," he said.
"Making sure she is well taken care of and we’re able to see each other frequently and easily is a big factor in my being able to run in 2015."
On the political front, the local Liberal riding association will have a very different financial situation in the next general election. A lot less money is going to come from the party’s national coffers compared to the byelection when plenty of cash came from Ottawa since there were just four contested seats, something the local association made clear to volunteers and members on Saturday.
For now, Dinsdale will be job hunting while plotting his next moves before his party’s nomination.