A local Conservative party representative says the nomination applications submitted by Chris Kennedy and Len Isleifson were rejected, leaving Larry Maguire to be the acclaimed Tory candidate in the upcoming Brandon-Souris byelection.
Maguire, current Arthur-Virden MLA, was the only candidate accepted by the party, the Sun confirmed on Saturday.
"As of five o’clock Ottawa time on Wednesday, there was only one set of documents," D’Arcy Barker, nomination committee member told the Sun. "Once we reviewed the documents of (Isleifson and Kennedy), we determined that not all the criteria were met."
The committee held a meeting on Friday to interview Maguire and recommended to the national nomination committee that he be accepted for the nomination.
After several attempts made by the Sun, Kennedy, former executive assistant to Merv Tweed, could not be reached for comment over the weekend.
On Sept. 11, the party’s application deadline date, Kennedy sent out a message from his Twitter account which read: "This will be one of the most memorable months of my life. Thank you to friends, family and everyone in Brandon-Souris for the support."
Barker’s comments came as a surprise to Isleifson, the city councillor for Riverview who stepped aside from the race on Friday evening to focus on his new duties as deputy mayor, but didn’t reveal what issues the party had with his paperwork.
When speaking with the Sun Friday following his bow out and again on Sunday, the councillor has insisted he and his campaign team followed all the rules and has "taken exception" to Barker’s comments.
"I’m going to be totally honest with you. As far as I’m concerned, there was no issues with my application," he said on Sunday morning. "My campaign team followed everything D’Arcy said to the tee, and I’m dealing with this internally right now."
With Maguire on the ticket, three of the four vacant ridings across the country currently have acclaimed Tory candidates, erasing the need for any nomination meetings. The fourth riding in Bourassa, Que. does not have any blue nominees yet. Now that the party appears to have all its ducks in a row, some pundits now are suggesting this could lead to an early byelection call, perhaps as early as today.
Barker doesn’t agree, however.
"We don’t know that," Barker said. "I don’t think we are. I still envision Nov. 30, the last possible day, just because of (the riding in) Bourassa."
If Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes the call this week, election day would be in late October.
Once a byelection is called, Maguire will have to give up his seat in the Manitoba legislature, leaving both the Arthur-Virden and Morris constituencies vacant at the provincial level.
"It’s always a surprise when you’re expecting a nomination meeting," Maguire said. "I’m very proud and looking forward to being able to be the Conservative candidate in the upcoming byelection in Brandon-Souris."
Coming off a lengthy sitting in the legislature, Maguire, who sold around 1,500 party memberships, will have to tie up loose ends before he leaves his provincial post.
Maguire was first elected to represent Arthur-Virden in the Manitoba legislature in 1999.
Boissevain resident Frank Godon and former media executive Rolf Dinsdale are both vying for the Liberal nomination for which a meeting has yet to be set.
Labour council president Cory Szczepanski and teamster John Bouché are running to represent the NDP during its nomination on Oct. 17, though the deadline for applications isn’t until Oct. 7.
There are no official interested Green party nominees in the riding yet.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 16, 2013